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The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) says it will train and retain health workers to reduce the prevalence of neonatal and maternal mortality in rural areas.

The FCT Chairman of the association, Dr Ekpe Phillips, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja.

Phillips said there was urgent need to train medical personnel in rural communities because of high neonatal and maternal mortality in such areas.

He said that the training would go a long way in improving services in health facilities.

Phillips stressed the need for health workers to be professional in their responsibilities.

“Training of healthcare personnel to help babies to breath well is part of our corporate social responsibilities.

“There is an urgent need to teach medical personnel in rural areas because of high neonatal and maternal mortality in such areas.

“The FCT chapter of the association thought it wise to invite experts to teach health personnel on how best to take care of newborn babies.

“Even though we had organised such training in the past we hope to do it again.

“We believe it will go a long way to reduce the prevalence of neonatal and maternal mortality.

“Nigeria has the highest neonatal deaths in Africa and we are second in the world after India and some of the causes of these deaths are treatable and preventable.’’

Philips listed some of the leading causes of the deaths as premature birth, fascia and infection.

He explained that premature birth was when babies were born before 37 weeks of gestation; while fascia was when a baby failed to breathe at birth, and infection or sepsis could also cause neonatal death.

He stressed that many health workers lacked the skill to treat babies born with such challenges, hence the need to train them for improved care and services.

“We the members of the association should not be sleeping while healthcare delivery continues to nosedive.

“The health and socio-demographic indices of Nigeria are sources of shame and ridicule to every patriotic citizen of Nigeria.

“Our pregnant women still deliver without the assistance of skilled birth attendants.

“Why should a woman die in the course of pregnancy and childbirth since the causes of morbidity and mortality are largely preventable and treatable?”, the NMA chairman said.

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