Nigeria to Nepal: Lessons Learned in Saving Newborn Lives

With 170 million inhabitants, Nigeria—Africa’s most populous country—has the continent’s highest annual number of newborn deaths. Each year more than 240,000 babies die in their first month of life accounting for more than a quarter of all under-five deaths.

Considering that two-thirds of births take place at home in the absence of a qualified health worker, the Government of Nigeria is keen to introduce community-based approaches and interventions to prevent newborn infections. This is why a delegation of 11 of Nigeria’s most dedicated stakeholders traveled to Nepal, a country that has made remarkable progress in implementing chlorhexidine at the community level. Not only has Nepal made strides in ensuring the antiseptic is widely available in health facilities, it has also provided access to mothers and newborns in remote areas through community-based distribution through their Female Community Health Volunteer program (FCHVs).

The delegation sought to learn from Nepal’s successes and challenges in implementing chlorhexidine in order to provide further guidance for those involved with the wide-scale introduction and implementation of chlorhexidine for newborn cord care in Nigeria. The team included members from the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Jigawa State Ministry of Health, the State Primary Health Care Development Agency (from Jigawa and Katsina states), the Nigerian Society for Neonatal Medicine (NISONM), and Save the Children.

The video helps showcase some of the important learning from the trip, as well as the momentum for moving forward with chlorhexidine implementation in Nigeria. We hope it could become an effective advocacy tool for helping advance interest in the use of chlorhexidine in Nigeria and throughout Africa, as well as raise awareness among key opinion leaders and decision makers about the product.


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