.Says Nigerian Govts Must Go Beyond Window Policies To Add Human Face
A leading non-governmental organisation working around maternal health and other social issues in Nigeria, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) on Tuesday lamented low pace at which Nigerian governments are addressing issues of maternal and newborn death rates in the country.
The organisation noted regrettably that, rating the country second to India in worse scenarios like high maternal mortality rate was shameful and unacceptable, hence, the need for government at all levels to go beyond window policies to add human face to what they do in this regard.
Fielding questions from health correspondents in Kaduna shortly after a press conference about the activities of the organisation in the state, Director, WARDC, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi said, the federal, states and local government must implement Abuja declaration of setting aside 15 percent annual budget to health finances in the country to save more women from avoidable deaths due to childbirth complications.
According to her, “We are not happy that after several calls on the federal and state governments to earmark 15 percent of their annual budget to the health sector of the economy, they are still struggling between six and seven percent as against the Abuja declaration of 15 percent.
“It is shameful that we still lose 814 women in every 100,000 livebirths at national level and its even higher in some states. Even smaller countries like Swaziland have started 15 percent implementation of the Abuja declaration of 2014 despite having smaller size and economy. We have to double efforts in terms of financial and political will because action is the key.
“Issue of maternal mortality is social, political and economy. We need to add human face to our policies. We have a record second to India. It is a big shame.
“As citizens, we should continue to hold government to account. People should be sensitised to get the right information that can equip them to ask their political representatives relevant questions. It is not good for any woman to die because she wants to give life. We want Nigeria to reduce its maternal deaths from 814 to 70 from there, we can beginning to talk about reducing it to zero.”
Earlier, Project Officer, WARDC, Bukola Osidibo described maternal mortality as one of the most neglected health problems and human right abuse the world over with its apex in India and Nigeria.
The project officer cautioned that, failure to address the continued avoidable deaths, has ripple implication for the country and would continue to shape indicators on health, poverty and other development issues irrespective of geographic and demographic settings of the victims.
“The three tiers of government must harmonize their healthcare priorities and agendas in order to ensure increased health care access for women”, she added.
WARDC and its partner, Centre for Reproductive Health with the support of MacArthur Foundation currently engaging stakeholders in the need for government to be more accountable on reduction of maternal mortality and support women’ maternal health.