The National Population Commission says it has begun the Collection of data for the 2019 Verbal and Social Autopsy “VASA” Survey in Rivers State.
The Federal Commissioner National Population Commission in Rivers State, Dr. IPALIBO HARRY who briefed newsmen in Port Harcourt said the VASA survey is a research study aimed at obtaining the accurate data for determining the cause and contributors to the deaths of children between age zero to five years.
He said the 2019 survey started across the 36 states of the federation including the federal capital territory on the 19th of October 2019 while that of Rivers State started on the 4th of November 2019 and will run through to the 25th November 2019
HARRY said the survey carried out in partnership with Federal Ministry of Health will help provide the up to date information on the early childhood mortality rate, estimation of prevalence, determination of cultural, behavioral, social and health system factors of neonatal, infant and under five mortality using the 2018 NDHS households. The 2019 VASA is the second to be conducted in Nigeria, the first took place in 2014.
He explained that in fulfillment of the constitutional mandate of National Population Commission to providing Demographic data for planning purposes will also assist policy makers plan and formulate policies for the health sector in relation to maternal and child in Nigeria
‘’the survey will among others provide other national and zonal levels estimates of the major causes of under-five mortalities in Nigeria between the period of 2013 to 2018 and will also make available to the national and zonal patterns of care seeking social factors and interventions received in relation to deaths of young children under the age of five for Qualitative narratives of factors associated with these patterns
The Federal Commissioner National Population Commission in Rivers State DR IPALIBO HARRY explained that Randomly selected deaths from a household with an under-five death from 2013 – 2018 were sampled and a total of 3215 under five mortality cases were selected through systemic and scientific methods, of that number 974 representing 31 percent are neonates (children from 0-27 completed days) while 2241 representing 69% are young children’’
He said the regional spread of the occurrences of neonatal and child deaths during the period shows that 614 (20%)of the total deaths occurred in southern parts of the country while 2601 (80%) occurred in the north respectively
He also explained that in Nigeria the most common causes of neonatal deaths include preterm births (early births) births of asphyxia (a child not breathing or crying at birth) severe infections such as septicemia. Pneumonia and meningitis. Other causes are tetanus and malformations of the fetus. Other known causes of infant’s deaths also include socio-cultural and health system factors which include age of mother, education, socioeconomic status of household, illness recognition, quality of care etc.’’
Our correspondent reports that in Rivers State, a team of six trained staffs on VASA is expected to visit eighteen local government areas which includes, Ahoada, East and West, Andoni, Asari Toru, Bonny, Eleme, Emohua, Etche, Gokana, Ikwerre, Obio-Akpor, Ogba-Egbema Ndoni, Okirika, Opobo Nkoro, Omuma, Oyigbo, Port Harcourt and Tai Local Government Areas