Tiny Beating Hearts Initiative (TBHI) has unveiled a software to aid parents in enhancing the well being of their premature babies across the country.
The computer software was unveiled on Saturday in Lokoja by the TBHI to mark the 2018 World Prematurity Day as part of its continuous efforts to ensure that preemies (premature babies) have a chance to live.
The Executive Director of the organisation, Mrs. Petra Akinti Onyegbule, told newsmen at the ceremony that the Preemies Support Application and Short Message Service (SMS) code were designed to give easy access to parents of preemies in need of medical help.
Mrs. Onyegbule who is also the Chief Press Secretary to the Kogi State Governor said the “Short Message Code” would guide parents of preemies to reach and get needed assistance from TBHI at their various outreaches across the country.
She said prematurity is a serious health concern that must be taken seriously by all, stressing that the death recorded as a result of it was alarming.
The Executive Director lamented that Nigeria alone accounted for 89, 300 deaths of 15 million infants born with preemies condition across the globe in 2016.
She reiterated the need for stringent measures to be taken by all and sundry to ensure that preemies in Nigeria are given adequate care to avert such worrying rate of mortality.
According to her, the seminar entitled “Partnering Together; Working with Families in the Care of Small and Sick Babies” which was also organised by her NGO to mark the World Prematurity Day, was well thought out in view of the challenges that the preemies were confronted with.
She said TBHI has saved over thirty-seven premature babies since inception in Kogi State about three years.
Also speaking on the challenges of premature babies’ parents, the Head, New Baby Unit of the Paediatric Section of the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Doctor Patricia Medupin said lack of neonatal ventilator, space and finance constitute great problem to the survival of preemies.
Doctor Medupin who called for a holistic approach by all relevant stakeholders and philanthropists to form support group for preterm babies and mothers, taught participants at the seminar on various methods to care and protect the babies from life threatening infection.
“Over eight hundred thousand babies are born prematurely yearly. Having a premature baby is emotionally draining and the survival of the baby is hundred percent dependent on the mother, therefore fathers should please be pillars of support to their wives,” she added.
In his remark, the Director General, Research and Development to the Kogi State Governor, Barrister Moses Okezie said the effort of TBHI in rendering support continuously to the challenged parents of preemies has successfully planted their plights in the consciousness of the government officials.
“Over the years, preemies have not gotten the deserved attention in Nigeria, but by associating with the Chief Press Secretary and her passion for preemies, this government cannot claim ignorance of this important issue. Even though, I’m not in the capacity to speak for the government, I know with the priority Governor Bello places on the provision of adequate health care, going forward the government will be able to put in place a comprehensive facility to provide care for new born babies,” Barrister Okezie added.
Similarly, the Chief Medical Director, Kogi State Specialist Hospital, Lokoja, Dr. Folorunsho Bolorunduro Ehalaye, while unveiling the Preemies Support Application and SMS Short Code, thanked TBHI for the donations of an incubator and medical consumables to the hospital few months ago.
Some of the parents who gave birth to twins prematurely narrate their experiences calling for more help to preemies parents.
The “World Prematurity Day” is celebrated internationally to acknowledge the journey of preemies and to increase awareness about their births and protection from acts that could get them killed.
Written by Halima Isah