In order to chart a way forward towards reducing maternal, newborn and child mortality in Northern Nigeria, a two – day regional consultative meeting on child spacing services and information has been concluded in Kaduna.
Participants, who were mainly child spacing advocates were drawn from States and local government areas in the Northwest and Northeast regions of the country.
Speaking on behalf of Kaduna State government at the opening of the conference, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Paul Dogo reiterated the commitment of current administration on improving health of mothers and children by way of improving contraceptives prevalence rate (CPR) in Nigeria adding that, the state government for the first time, created a budget line for family planning with a view to reducing maternal mortality in the state.
The commissioner restated the resolve and determination of the state government towards ensuring that the goals of the program were achieved.
“If we can all embrace child spacing services, maternal mortality would reduce. We see this as a laudable programme and government would struggle to reduce maternal mortality. Go back and monitor the services so that we can move the health status of northern States forward”, he told the participants.
Speaking on the status of maternal health in northern Nigeria, saving lives and averting maternal deaths, a lecturer with Bayero University, Kano, Prof Hadiza Galadanchi decried that despite massive campaigns, about 88% of women in the region still give birth at home.
According to her, something urgent is required to be done to address the trend or else, women would continue to die due to complications that may arise during childbirth.
The varsity Don highlighted Nigeria and India as the two countries that account for third of all global maternal deaths across the globe.
According to her, based on 2013 National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) reports, 576 per 100,000 die due to complications during child birth.
“We need to understand that Pregnancy is not a disease. Pregnancy should be a thing of joy because it is a process of bringing a child to this world.
“As we speak women still die during childbirth which shouldn’t be. So, we must do everything possible to reduce these deaths among our women,” She said.
She listed Malaria, unsafe abortion, infection, anamia, obstructed labour among some of the reasons why pregnant women die.
On importance of child Spacing, she added. “in many nations, the increased use of child spacing methods parallels an increase in quality of life.
“Birth spacing also has the greatest impact on child survival. It helps protect women from unwanted pregnancies and high-risk pregnancies.
“as a results many women’s life will be saved from unsafe abortions and high-risk pregnancies,” she said.
In his paper presentation titled” Child Spacing, Healthy Prosperous Family and Demographic Dividends, another varsity Don with Kaduna State University, Professor John Gambo Laar called for investment on girl child education which would assist greatly in reducing maternal deaths in the region.
Also contributing, traditional ruler, Sarki Yakin Gagi, who had undertaken a study tour of Indonesia and Senegal with peculiarity with Nigeria, said those countries have been able to reduce their high poverty and mortality rate up to 60 percent.
He then expressed concern over poor funding of child spacing in Nigeria lamenting the reduction of Federal government’s annual budget from 15 percent to 3.9 percent, “we need commitment, dedication and perseverance until we achieve the set target contained in the nation’s scale up plan. We have no reason to fail”.
An official of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Lawrence Anyanwu stated that, 50 percent adolescent girls in Nigeria were already mothers by the time they celebrate their 20th birthday saying, the situation is not only worrisome but unacceptable.
The Consultative meeting featured the launch of the new national Child Spacing Logo, The Green Dot, by the Kaduna State Head of Service, Mrs Bariatu Mohammed.
Had as its theme “Reaching Those Farthest and Behind”, the meeting was supported by the UNPFA, Track 20, NURHI II, Population council, SFH A360 and MNCH2.
The participants were drawn from Borno, Adamawa Gombe Bauchi, Taraba and Yobe. Others were Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Jigawa, Kebbi and the host, Kaduna featured university Dons, traditional and religious leaders, top government officials, civil society organizations (CSOs), and donor partners.
POSTED BY EDITOR