Lagos State Governor’s wife, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, has unveiled a support package to provide assistance for multi-birth families and expand access to quality healthcare for low-income families.
Sanwo-Olu unveiled the initiative through an Non Governmental Organisation, Jumejilo Multi-Birth Assistance Program (JMAP).
Speaking at Lagos House Ikeja, on Tuesday, while presenting cheque and gift to the first set of beneficiaries of the JMAP Program, she described the initiative as a dream come true, as it was conceived in 2021.
The NGO, JMAP was conceived to complement the output of other existing initiatives and support systems in the Lagos State health sector for parents of High Order Multiple (HOM) pregnancies, she said that JMAP would alleviate medical complications, mortalities and disorders associated with multiple births, including premature delivery, preeclampsia and irregular foetal growth, among others.
”The JMAP intervention was initiated in 2021 by my Office, against the background of the rising rate of multiple births in the state and the neonatal mortality associated with High Order Multiple (HOM) pregnancies among low-income families.
”Available data indicates that Lagos has an infant mortality rate of 39 per cent per 1,000 live births monthly, with preterm complications significantly accounting for the high mortality,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The Governor’s wife made reference of a quote by Owen Arthur, a former Prime Minister of Barbadian as saying – ”For he who has health has hope; and he who has hope, has everything”.
According to her, the quote vividly captures the essence of her intervention through the NGO, which seeks to extend hope to families that truly need help.
She said that the support for multiple-birth parents and infants would come in form of socio-economic support, constant enlightenment, empowerment, social inclusion and a welfare support system.
Sanwo-Olu said that the beneficiaries of the program would enjoy postnatal care that would run for a 12-month cycle.
She said that during this period, the multi-birth households would undergo social empowerment, health education and economic sustainability programs, in addition to follow-up social and welfare engagements, as the babies develop.
”Potential JMAP beneficiaries must be below 60 years, while their socio-economic status (in respect of annual income) must not be more than N250,000 per household.
”Prospective beneficiaries must also have Lagos State Residents Registration Agency (LASRRA) Cards as proof of residential status, with utility bills of at least 12 months; they must be an expectant or current multiple-birth mother with triplets or more that are between ages 0 and 5 years,” Sanwo-Olu said.
She said that JMAP had not been set up as a conventional NGO, giving monetary assistance to the public, as the financial support to be made available to the beneficiaries will only be provided specifically as sustenance for multi-birth parents, in line with the objective of the program.
The Governor’s wife called on like-minds, public-spirited individuals and corporate organizations to support her vision of giving hope to families that needed help.
According to her, the initiative will be sustained as a platform to make positive difference in the society.
In her remark, the wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs Oluremi Hamzat said that the life impacting initiative had brought to light the motherly instinct of Dr Sanwo-Olu, in ensuring that numerous challenges associated with multiple births were mitigated.
”Given the extensive evidence that twins and other multiple births worldwide are associated with a substantial higher risk of maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity, this initiative will further strengthen the window of opportunities and would be of immense assistance to multiple birth parents,” Hamzat said.
At the program unveiling, two multiple birth mothers – one with quadruplets and another with triplets – went home with JMAP Babies Awards, which among other gifts, included cash and assorted baby items.
One of the excited recipients, Mr Tunde Ilufoye, a father of triplets, said he was overwhelmed with the huge support received and promised to spread the good news of government’s intervention in supporting parents with multiple births.