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Maternal Health Crisis: CSO Urges Action On Bill Gates Statement

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The Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED), a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) has urged Nigerians, particularly the women and youth, to demand accountability from authorities, so as to address Nigeria’s huge maternal health challenge.

The centre also described recent statement by philanthropist and founder of Microsoft, Mr. Bill Gates to the effect that Nigeria remains one of the worst places for women to give birth, as a call to action by all citizens.

CHRICED executive director Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi gave the charge at a press briefing to mark the close out of the organisations project on maternal health, which was implemented in Gwale and Kumbotso Local Government Areas of Kano State.

He enjoinned citizens, especially women in rural areas, who are affected the most by the problem to be ready to put more pressure on relevant institutions of government, until avoidable deaths of women in Kano State due to maternal health related causes, is stopped.

Zikirullahi explained the organisation used an innovative data driven approach to understand and solve the problem.

He noted that apart from a baseline survey, which gathered data on the maternal health access and practices in the project communities, CHRICED planned and executed a robust outreach. He said: “This outreach won the buy-in of the critical stakeholders in the legislature, the executive, the media, fellow CSOs, international development partners and agencies, social influencers and ultimately the target beneficiaries in our project communities. Consistent advocacy to stakeholders like the Kano State House of Assembly, Kano Emirate Council, Ministries of Health, Information, Women Affairs and Budget resulted in key milestones.”

“One of the key milestones according to the civic leader, is the Draft Bill on Maternal and Child Health currently before the Kano State House of Assembly.  The Bill seeks to institutionalize the policy of free maternal health, as well as harness resources for maternal health interventions. Dr Zikirullahi also noted that successful advocacy by CHRICED alongside a cohort of like-minded organizations, resulted in consistent increase in budgetary allocations for the health sector in Kano State, which enabled allocations in the sector to move closer towards the 15 percent mark as stipulated in the Abuja Declaration on healthcare funding,” he said.

The centre observed that the intervention was a source of information because it contributed significantly to raising awareness of the target group.

“Particularly, community women who are usually marginalised and denied the rights to take control of the process of determining issues like number of children and the child spacing, through this programme, began to speak up and assert themselves,” he said.

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