Groups Move to Check Maternal, Child Mortality in Nigeria

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An NGO, White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria, in collaboration with the Wellbeing Foundation and other civil society groups, has inaugurated the “What Women Want’’ campaign in Nigeria to combat maternal and child mortality.

“What Women Want’’ campaign, inaugurated at Dutse Alhaji, Primary Health Centre, Abuja on Wednesday, is a global advocacy to improve quality maternal and reproductive healthcare for women and girls and to sustain health systems.

Mrs Toyin Saraki, the President, Wellbeing Foundation, while inaugurating the campaign, said it was high time serious attention was paid to maternal and child mortality in Nigeria.

Saraki, represented by Mrs Amy Oyekunle, Vice-President, Wellbeing Foundation, regretted that Nigeria had one of the highest maternal mortality rate in the world.

“This programme is very important to us because Wellbeing Foundation, as an organisation, is focusing on maternal and child mortality.

“We are focused on changing the narratives; improving the indicators around maternal mortality.

“To do this, we have many programmes-one of it is the MAMACARE Antenatal and Postnatal Education Programme.

“This is one the centres where we carry out this programme; what we do is to train and educate pregnant and nursing mothers on what to do with regards to their pregnancies,’’ she said.

According to her, we have discovered that maternal mortality is on the increase.

“But where women have the facility and trained and skilled healthcare workers, there is a change to the indicators-women are better treated, there is lower mortality rate,’’ she said.

On his part, Mr Tonte Ibraye, the National Coordinator, White Ribbon Alliance, said that “What Women Want’’ campaign was geared toward promoting quality healthcare for women and girls.

Ibraye said the campaign was aimed at ensuring that women and adolescent girls have access to quality maternal and childcare services.

He said that the campaign would last for two years, within which the group would share feedback forms from women and girls and the kind of services and healthcare they wanted.

“We need to know what having access to equitable and dignified care means to them; this campaign is for everybody to join; we want to get feedback on what they want to see in a primary healthcare centre.

“So that when they come again, they will have quality healthcare.

“We are hoping to launch it everywhere depending on what our resources can carry; we want organisations to sign up to the campaign in whatever state or region they are.

“At the global level, a lot of partners have indicated interest in joining the campaign,’’ he said.

One of the participating women, Mrs Juliet Lazarus, appealed to the relevant authorities to provide free treatment for pregnant women and children.

Lazarus said that hospital requirements for childbirth cost above N12, 000, adding that many indigent families could not afford the cost. (NAN)

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