WELCOME ADDRESS BY THE SPECIAL ADVISER ON CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, PRINCESS ADEREMI ADEBOWALE, AT THE SECOND PILOT OF LAGOS STATE MOTHER, INFANT & CHILD (M.I.C.H) PROGRAM AT BARIGA LOCAL COUNCIL DEVELOPMENT AREA ON THURSDAY, 26TH NOVEMBER, 2020
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I am glad to welcome you all to the flag-off of the second phase of the Mother, Infant and Child Program Pilot. You would recall that the initial pilot was flagged off on 28th July, 2020 by the First Lady Dr. (Mrs.) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu at Igbogbo-Baiyeku Local Government Area. The pilot programme has been taken to eleven Local Governments in the first phase and they are Ikorodu, Epe, Ibeju-Lekki, Eti-Osa, Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Kosofe, Shomolu, Agege, Alimosho and Ikeja Local Governments.
I must acknowledge the stoic support, approval and commitment of the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, and the First Lady, Dr. Mrs. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, to the success of the program in the State. Indeed, the First family has demonstrated that every live in Lagos State counts, even from the womb, and this is why the Office of Civic Engagement will leave no stone unturned in ensuring social cohesion of all and sundry through a systematic build-citizens-from-the-womb strategy, which focuses on development of the unborn child into civically responsible and collaborative citizens.
Also, permit me to specially recognize the presence in our midst of some Honourable members of the Lagos State House of Assembly, my distinguished colleagues in the State Executive Council, Chairmen of Local Government Authorities and Local Council Development Areas, Royal Fathers and our partners, to this historic event.
The Office of Civic Engagement is proud to acknowledge the support and partnership of private and public agencies such as the Ministries of Agriculture, Health, Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Wealth Creation and Employment, Office of Sustainable Development Goals and Investments (SDG), Primary Health Care Board (PHCB), Lagos State Residents Registration Authority (LASRRA), Alaro City, Gerocare Services Limited and Mumspring.
Through the active collaboration of these aforementioned agencies, we have started this journey to ensure that growing fetuses are given a fair chance to live, grow and become socially responsible individuals who are less likely to exert social pressure on the system. Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen let me at this point say that M.I.C.H would not only encourage antenatal visits at our primary health care facilities, It will as well encourage our pregnant women that rely on herbal homes to attend the Primary Health Care Centers for pre-natal on a regular basis thus, reducing maternal and infant mortality rates.
Guided by this lofty objectives, we have birthed the 2nd phase of Mother, Infant and Child (M.I.C.H) pilot Program, as a follow up to the initial pilot with a view to assessing the impact of the MICH Food and supplements on the pregnant participants with full monitoring of their existing conditions, along with their unborn children throughout pregnancy till delivery and post-partum.
For clarity, the MICH program at full launch is targeted at Fifteen Thousand (15,000) participants over the course of the next 3 years, however, we are kicking off with this second pilot phase with 1140 participants only comprising a research study with twenty (20) pregnant women in each of our 20 LGAs and 37 LCDAs.
This phase, tagged the Research Phase will include independent case studies and research involving 1140 pregnant women with follow up and monitoring of diverse medical and social indices starting from December 1st 2020 till the next six months. Our formidable team of medical and technical experts have come up with a research proposal which aims to provide informed recommendations for the use of the State Government, the Federal Government and international development agencies like the United Nations.
To ensure this research phase is impactful, we will ensure that the participating pregnant women receive qualitative health care and follow-up through home visits by a dedicated team of public and State-approved private community health workers and medical consultants. In addition, each of the beneficiaries would have access to a toll-free line with membership on a social media chat group that will be created in each local government area for direct feedback as part of the monitoring and evaluation process of the Office of Civic Engagement. I, therefore, urge every beneficiary to cooperate with our team of medical experts, research team and care volunteers at every stage of the process.
Also, I strongly appeal to all husbands, partners, families and support systems of the pregnant participants to ensure that the MICH Plus Food packs meant for sole consumption of our target participants are not abused or misused. Additionally, I encourage our participants’ spouses and families to continue to be responsible support systems to our pregnant women so that our dream of building the society through the unborn child and his family is realized maximally.
We have thought ahead of the need to support struggling spouses of our indigent pregnant participants, hence we have included indicators relating to the family engagement component of the MICH program as part of our research studies. I unequivocally assure everyone on this program that the MICH research experience, over the next few months, will not only birth new healthy, virile babies and economically stable and civically responsible families but re-write the social inclusion narrative in our local governance and global sustainable development.
I must emphasize at this juncture that the undiluted support and total cooperation of all our LGA/LCDA Chairmen is of paramount importance to the successful implementation of the research exercise since it will be domiciled at the Local Government Level. Towards this end I urge all Chairmen, and other political leaders in each local government, to work hands in glove with the Medical Officers of Health in their domains, especially in ensuring objective selection of participants according to the criteria listed as follows:
(1.) Pregnant and Underprivileged
(2.) EGA must be between 21-24wks
(3.) Must be registered for ANC at the PHC within the LGA/LCDA
(4.) Must possess a LASRRA card
(5.) Must be resident in the LGA/LCDA
(6.) Must be from low-income household and
(7.) 75% of selection must be indigenous.
Permit me to stress that the sustainability of this journey is largely dependent on the financial and technical support, as well as, goodwill of donors, sponsors and volunteers. Whilst acknowledging the interest already shown by partners like Alaro City, I call on more public and private organizations, particularly in the pharmaceutical, food and beverage manufacturing and healthcare sectors, as well as local and international development agencies, non-governmental bodies and well-meaning individuals to support the Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in his effort to secure the future of our dear State in particular and the nation at large.
Once again, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I welcome you all to the second phase of the Mother, Infant and Child (M.I.C.H) program pilot.
Thank you all for your time and God Bless!
Igbega Ipinle Eko, Ajumo se ni
Princess Aderemi Adebowale
Special Adviser, Office of Civic Engagement
26th November, 2020