call has gone to all federal
and agencies, state and local governments, organized private sector and civil society organizations to feel free to make use
of the 2019 VASA data for planning and development purposes.
The minister of health, Dr.
Osagie Ehanire, made the call
while delivering his address at the
official launch and national dissemination of the 2019 Verbal and
Social Autopsy (VASA) study
undertaken by the Federal Ministry of Health in conjunction with
the National Population Commission (NPC) in Abuja recently.
Ehanire said the data generated
in the 2019 VASA survey would
provide the information needed to
identify key deficits.
According to him, it will also
help us channel resources to address developmental needs, as
well as monitor and evaluate
progress towards meeting our
Universal Health Coverage
(UHC) agenda and of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG3)
with regards to maternal and child
health in Nigeria.
The minister explained that the Verbal and Social Autopsy Study
provided an up to date health and
social indicators on under-5 deaths
in Nigeria and the distribution
along geopolitical zones and individual states.
"The high ranking of the health
sector among the nine priority
areas of the current administration was an indication of the
president's vision and
government's commitment to
promote health and well-being of
"The 2019 VASA report is thus
a vital tool in the critical initiative
to improve the health of infants
and children and also maternal
health, he said.
Ehanire further stated that the
VASA report was the product of
the sound collaboration of several organizations with the Federal Ministry of Health and the
National Population Commission,
including Development Partners,
led by the United States Agency
for International Development
"It is gratifying to note that the
indicators from the report represent key areas of maternal
healthcare (women aged 15 - 49,
Child Health, Nutrition and Child
Mortality. Ehanire added.
Earlier, the minister of state for
health, Dr. Olurunnimbe Mamora,
who gave a welcome address, said
the 2019 VASA report would be a
veritable tool for planning for neonates, children and maternal health
in the country.
Mamora revealed that: "The
VASA survey was a follow up to
the 2018 National Demographic
Health Survey (NDHS), where a
total of 3,215 under-5 mortality
cases were selected out of which
31 per cent (974) is neonates
while 69 per cent (2,241) were
His words: "In Nigeria, the
most common causes of neonatal
deaths including pre-term birth
(early birth), birth asphyxia, pneumonia and meningitis, the minister disclosed. Other causes are
tetanus and malformations just to
mention a few.
He stated that other causes of infant and child deaths were religious beliefs, socio-cultural practices, age and education of mother,
socio-economic status of household, illness recognition, and quality of care and health system factors.
While commending the various
stakeholders involved in the collation of the data findings,
Mamora expressed optimism that
with the launch of the data, the
VASA study would find usefulness by policymakers and all
stakeholders "to design
programmes of better health care
delivery in Nigeria.
Earlier, the chairman, National
Population Commission (NPC),
Alhaji Nasir Isa Kwarra, revealed
that the Verbal and Social Autopsy
Survey was a study that seeks to
ascertain the causes and determinants of under-5 mortality in Nigeria between 2013 to 2018.
Kwarra pointed out that the
2019 VASA edition which was a
follow up to the 2018 National
Demographic Health Survey
(NDHS), randomly selected
deaths from households with under-5 mortality cases.
The deaths, he said were selected out of which 31 per cent
(974) are neonates while 69 per
cent (2,241) are children, spreading across the country.
He instructively remarked that
the regional spread of the occurrence of death during the period
under review were 614 (20 per
cent) of the total deaths and were
in the Southern part of the country while 2,601 (80 per cent) occurred in the North.
The NPC boss called for a purposeful intervention and
programmes from all concerned
to reduce under-5 mortality in
Nigeria, adding that the 2019
VASA survey is the second in the
series, after the maiden edition that
was conducted by the commission in 2014 which involved selected households across the country.
The event which held physically and virtually on the November 6, 2020 at several locations
commenced with the Federal
Ministry of Health, Abuja, National Planning Commission Auditorium as well as Shehu Musa
Yar'Adua Centre, Abuja