As the world marks 2023 World Population Day, Ondo State Ministry of Health has sensitized Stakeholders on Mandatory Death Reporting and Registration of Birth in the State.
The meeting which was held in commemoration of the day took place at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Health and it had in attendance, top government functionaries in the health sector, religious leaders and Civil Society Organizations.
Speaking on the Mandatory Death Reporting, the Programme Manager, Population Activities in Health and Mandatory Death Reporting, Mr. Babatunde Alabi noted that the actual death records in Ondo State as at today is unknown and it has been observed that more deaths occur outside the hospitals and such deaths are not taken to the mortuaries for proper record. This, he opined, has grossly affected the health policy and health plan in the State.
He postulated that there was need to track death which could only be achieved if mandatory death reporting was put in place. In his words, "only 13.5% of death in Nigeria were registered in 2007 which regressed to 10% in 2017. There was no data reported for Nigeria in the World Health Organization database between 2008 and 2018. This reason has necessitated the reporting for all the States in Nigeria."
Speaking about the Objectives of the Mandatory Death Reporting, Alabi explained that it would ensure that every death within the State is tracked and cause of death is known, this he maintained would assist the government in planning for the health of the Citizens while ensuring regulation of burial in the State to promote safe environment for the Citizens.
For the category of people whose deaths are to be reported in the State, the Programme Officer clarified that a person who died in the State, a person whose body was discovered in the State, and a spontaneous fetal death occurring in the State.
For procedure, Alabi elucidated further that documents to be presented include death certificates forwarded from the health facilities to the desk Officers at each of the 18 Local Government Areas who would in turn report to the State Programme Manager.
Representing the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr (Mrs.) Folukemi Aladenola, the Director Public Health, Dr Stephen Fagbemi said in his welcome address that the burial Law had been in existence since 2006 but had not been implemented, stating further that the State is ready for the enforcement of death reporting.
According to him, "it might really be challenging to track all deaths across the State but we have commenced tracking at our health institutions in the State."
He urged all Stakeholders, Mortuary Operators and Heads of Institutions to always ensure that death reports are properly filed and transmitted to appropriate quarters.
The Director Legal Services of the Ondo State Ministry of Health, Barr. Oloruntosin Ogunnowo noted in his presentation that the Law exists in the State Law for proper death recording and there are penalties attached to it.
In his goodwill message, the representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), Mr. Adewale Moses said death tracking and reporting has been an issue and the whole world has not been generating enough and accurate data on death while he lauded Ondo State's effort, he also promised his organization’s unflinching support to the Program.
The representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Akin Daramola said their association was ready to partner the State Government in ensuring the smooth running of the program.