It has been observed that an average of 1,000 women give birth to new babies every week in Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital (MMSH) in Kano alone, the Project Director of Women in Media, Halima Ben Umar has said.
She made the assertion in Kano when she led the delegation of Development Research and Training Projects Centre (DRPC), an amalgam of women and children rights organisations to an advocacy visit to the Kano State House of Assembly on Tuesday.
“The number of children born every year is increasing by hundreds of thousands and they all have needs. In MMSH alone, an average of 1,000 women give birth every week, and this is just on hospital in the state,” Hajiya Halima added.
According to her, the group, made up of six Civil Society Organisations in the state, was in the assembly as to track the record performance of health sector in the state as well as advocate for more funds to the to it.
She noted that the N60m appropriated for Integrated Management of Child Illnesses (IMCI) in the state’s 2021 budget which is exactly the same amount appropriated in 2020 may not be enough considering the annual population growth of the state.
The Project Director added that, “Many [children] are born with sicke cell anaemia, many contract paediatric pneumonia and many get diarrhoea which places a burden on the health system.
“We have also observed that even when funding is allocated in annual budget, it is seldom released completely and on time. For example, despite the fact that Kano State Government allocated funds for Child Birth Spacing in the 2019 proposed budget estimates, no fund was released at all.
“All of us here in the delegation are in touch with the local women in our communities and we know how they are suffering when they give birth every year without resting. It is evident that our women are well informed and are interested in accessing Child Birth Spacing Services,” she added.
The groups, who said their evidence-based advocacy is targeting primary healthcare, child spacing and other child killer diseases, noted that there is need for upward review of monies appropriated for women and children health in the state’s annual budget to cope with the existing realities.
Responding, the Speaker of the House, Hon. Abdul’aziz Garba Gafasa promised to go through the observations raised and work on them before the passing the 2021 budget next week.
On the issue of non-release of funds appropriated, the Speaker said the lawmakers will use their oversight function to make sure that all the funds budgeted were released.
Daily Trust reports that the CSOs in the group during the visit include Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Women in Media Communication Initiative (WIM), Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Accountability Mechanism for MNCH in Kano State (AMMKaS), National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) and Community Support and Development Initiative Nigeria (CSADI).