By: Emmanuel Ulayi.
Governor Ben Ayade’s desire to see his citizens especially young growing kids remain healthy and alive has taken a different format as the State Governor Sen Prof Ben Ayade through his workaholic Health Commissioner Dr Betta Edu has reinstated the governments commitment to ensuring that no child in the State dies of Malnutrition and in a bid to make this a reality, the Honorable Commissioner for Health Dr Betta Edu working with a large network of community tracers (finders) and health workers are rescuing and treating malnourished children in their hundreds.
The active search strategy in Cross River state now has helped in the discovery of over 234 severely malnourished kids so far living in remote parts of the State as well as the State capital. Dr Edu who took the BBC round the State briefed them of the State Government support and speedy interventions that has so far helped in saving the lives of so many kids and in a desire to keep doing more, the Governor has directed that all kids who are victims of this be given urgent medical assistant/attention free of charge while their families are supported to sustain the care.
“Severe malnutrition in children is a serious issue that must be tackled to save lives. Most times this is caused by ignorance. The family doesn’t know how to use the locally available food from farm and river to feed the kids properly. Cross River state is blessed with food so we should have no business with severe malnutrition. Some are due to disease like HIV in children. So we must end transmission of HIV from mother to child!
The Health team took it as a responsibility to comb the nooks and crannies of the entire State in search of this kids and during the first and second phase of this exercise, we were able to come to the rescue of over 120 Malnourished children who have received proper medical attention, support and care given to them and the good news is that most of them are well and living a more healthier life than when we first met them.
With over 200 communities visited, Dr Edu revealed that another reason for the increased cases of severely malnourished kids is as a result of the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown which resulted in loss of livelihood as parents could no longer feed their kids. She stated that ignorance is also another factor responsible for this norm as most parents don’t have the idea on basic foods like fresh vegetables, fish, periwinkle, etc that could help nourish their kids but rather resorts to tasteless juice, biscuit, custard etc. other factors being Cultural/Religious beliefs, government policies, poor economy of the Country, the health boss has assured cross riverians that the government of Sen Prof Ben Ayade will continue to carryout community engagement/sensitization as well as work with communities to building a resilient health system to help address this menace.
On their part, the parents of the kids who were basically single mothers appreciated the effort of the State Governor Sen Prof Ben Ayade who through the health commissioner has given them hope and a reason to smile again. They thanked Dr Betta Edu for her efforts, support, love and care that has today returned back over 145 children back to a healthy state.
Unyime Monday, a resident of Old Odukpani village, a mother of five and Martina Henshaw, a mother of 4kids and a resident of Egerton who spoke on behalf of the other mothers commended the Health Commissioner for the massive support both financially, morally, medically, and otherwise that has today changed the lives of their kids. “We are grateful to Sen Prof Ben Ayade and Dr Betta Edu for coming all out to look for us in our houses to give us support. She’s indeed a mother. today our children can get medical care and even food to eat, not only that.
Some of the severely malnourished kids who got this major medical attention and support as well as palliatives to help address their challenges by the Health Commissioner are; Jesam Esua, Torsam Esua, Obasesam Esua (triplets) all a year and 7months, Grace and Marvelous Henshaw twin of 3months old, ThankGod Francis Elemi 3yrs old, Shedrack Joseph 1yr old, Isaac Joseph 1yr old, Emmanuel Sunday, Offiong Sylvester and many other kids have all been discovered and are accessing medical care now.