COMMUNIQUE OF THE 14TH TRIENNIAL CONGRESS OF UNION OF NATIONAL AFRICAN PEADIATRIC SOCIETIES AND ASSOCIATIONS (UNAPSA), AND THE 49TH ANNUAL GENERAL METTING AND SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE OF THE PAEDIATRIC ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (PAN) HELD AT INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE, ABUJA, JANUARY 24TH-26TH, 2018
The Joint 14th Triennial Congress of UNAPSA and 49th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Paediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN) took place from 24-26th January 2018 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. The theme of the Conference was The Impact of Deprivation & Inequity on The African Child and the sub-themes were ‘Polio-free Africa: Opportunity for Strengthening & Sustaining Routine Immunization’ and ‘Insurgency &The Health of the African Child’. The Conference was preceded by capacity building workshops on Basic Life Support, Paediatric Advanced Life Support, Neonatal Resuscitation, Ventilatory Support, Nutrition in Public Health, Vaccinology, Helping Babies Breath, Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Management attended by 347 participants.
The Opening Ceremony of the Conference was chaired by the Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja Prot Michael Adikwu (represented by the Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Prof R Anumah) while the Conference was declared open by Her Excellency, the wife of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, ably represented by Mrs Gimbiya Dogara, the wife of the Hon. Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Special Guest of Honour, Prof. Isaac Adewoie, the Honorable Minister of Health, was represented by the Director of Family health in the FMOH, Dr. Adebiyi Adembimpe (mini). Also present were the following: the Honorable Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kebbi State, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, and his wife, HE, Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, HE, Dr. AminaAbubakar Bello, the wife of the Niger State Governor. Dr. Kawu Abubakar represented the Honourable Minister of the FCT, Mallam Muhammadu Musa Bello.
The welcome address was given by the PAN President, Dr. Ngozi Ibeziako, while the Keynote Address was given by the UNAPSA President, Dr. Dorothy Esangbedo. The guest lecture titled Impact of Deprivation and Inequity on the African child, was delivered by Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta, President of the International Paediatric Association (IPA) in a plenary chaired by Dr. Adenike Grange. Seven hundred and thirty-two members (ordinary and associate), delegates and resource persons, attended the Conference from across Nigeria and other parts of the world.
Professor William Ogala was honoured with the Dr. and Mrs. Bolaji Ajenifuja Distinguished Paediatrician Award for 2018. In addition, Dr. Bolaji Ajenifuja (OFR) was honored in recognition and appreciation for his vision as Emeritus founding father of both PAN and UNAPSA, Dr. Winifred Kaine was recognized and honored as founding mother of PAN. Dr Adenike Grange was also honoured for her contribution to global child health and as the first African female president of IPA, while Dr Theodore Okeahialam was recognized as a foundation member of UNAPSA. Recognition awards were given to the wife of the President Hajiya Aisha Buhari and His Excellency Senator Abubakar Atiku-Bagudu as Friend of children.
The Conference included nine plenary sessions, three scientific sessions run in four parallel sessions, and four symposia. The scientific sessions featured presentations cutting across sub-specialties of Paediatrics. They were 79 oral and 46 e-posters which are available on the conference website.
The conference made the following observations:
- The inequities and inequalities affecting children are enormous and widespread hampering access to good nutrition, Qualitative education, quality healthcare, safe drinking water and protection from poverty, abuse and exploitation. These have potential to create struggle, conflicts and wars leading to instability in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
- The insurgency in some parts of Nigeria has created many health challenges.
- The poor funding of the health sector has persisted in Nigeria and the sub-region,
- The conference acknowledged that neonatal mortality and morbidity rates in Nigeria remain unacceptably high with prematurity being a significant contributor.
- It also identified the dearth of maternal and perinatal death data and the potential role Maternal Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response (MPDSR) to dose the gap in data quality and completeness and to drive maternal and perinatal health care to improve survival
- UNAPSA/PAN were very concerned about the circulation of the wild poliovirus in Nigeria.
- UNAPSA/PAN expressed great concern about the Viral Haemorrhagic Fever especially Lassa fever that has become endemic in Nigeria
- It was noted that many child health-related policies and programmes have minimal input from PAN.
- There is an urgent need to make investments to address the gaps in child health, if progress is to be made towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.
- UNAPSA/PAN resolved that efforts to address health challenges created by insurgency have to be better funded and coordinated. The root causes should be identified and addressed to promote optimal growth and development of the Nigerian child.
- UNAPSA and PAN strongly advocate the allocation of at least 15% of the annual budgetary allocation at National, State and Local government levels to health.
- The Maternal Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response (MPDSR) intervention should be scaled up to facilities in all the states of the federation especially at the primary care level.
- The use of simple cost-effective interventions such as maternal education, adequate follow up of newborn, kangaroo mother care, and provision of free maternal services should be promoted in order to mitigate neonatal mortality and morbidity. Maternal friendly policies should be implemented at the workplace at all levels.
- Government policies and effort towards attaining a “polio free status” should be sustained in order to achieve polio eradication by 2018.
- UNAPSA and PAN call on the government and other stakeholders to collaborate and improve emergency response to epidemics in order to curb the spread of the diseases and improve outcomes.
- PAN reiterates the need for government to engage more with the Association in all matters related to child health. The focus should be on home grown solutions and guidelines that have high impact on child and maternal health. These interventions once identified should be brought to scale for better impact.
Dr Austine Omoigberale
Dr Damian Nwaneri