It was a pleasure to attend the Launch of the WHO-UNICEF-JICA guide on Strengthening implementation of home-based records for maternal, newborn and child health, this afternoon!
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the use of home-based records as a complement to facility-based records, to improve care seeking behaviours, men’s involvement and support in the household, maternal and child home care practices, infant and child feeding, and communication between health workers and women, parents and caregivers, so I am delighted that my The Wellbeing Foundation Africa in-country policy team are collaborating with national policymakers and the NPHCDA, Unicef, JICA and partners to validate Nigeria’s Maternal and Child Handbook this week.
Having initiated the WBFA IMNCH Personal Health Records©️ in 2006, and the WBFA RMNCAH Universal Health Records©️ and Maternal Notes in 2014, I am delighted by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) leadership and multilateral organisational stakeholdership that has grown to embrace the concept of The Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Handbook in Nigeria.
Published for the first time in Japan in 1948, the MCH handbook is being developed and adapted around the world. MCH handbook programs have been introduced in more than 50 countries and areas to increase knowledge and change MCH related behaviour through strengthening communication between health professionals and mothers with children. It is also utilised as a basic tool for ensuring the quality of lives of mothers, children and families.
Interestingly, child health records and growth charts were introduced in Nigeria at the Wesley Guild Hospital (WGH), Ilesa, in the old Western Region back in the 1950s and early 60s by Professor David Morley, whose survey of the population of Imesi-Ile village revealed that 450 children out of every 1000 was dying before the age of five years. A full longitudinal study was initiated and over the next 18 months all children born into the community were registered, and then followed with monthly checks for a full five years.
A special ‘Under Fives Clinic’ was initiated with high protein weaning food introduced. Mothers kept the children’s records with less loss than for hospital based records; Grade II midwives were taught to deal with 90% of clinical needs and to refer to the other 10%. By 1960 outpatient attendance had reached 200 000 at WGH, 80% of whom were under 18 year olds. The first measles vaccine was trialled at Ilesa and Imesi-Ile in 1960 – and thus, the pioneering work at the local Imesi-Ile community revolutionised global child health.
I look forward, along with partners, to the greater strengthening and implementation of home-based records for maternal newborn and child health in Nigeria, through the adoption and domestication of the WHO, Unicef and JICA Guide For Country Programme Managers.