The Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samai’la Mera on Monday urged Northern governors to put in more efforts in addressing maternal and child deaths in the region.
He made the call at a one-day bi-annual meeting with Northern Traditional leaders on community-based maternal and perinatal deaths surveillance and response organised by the Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Kaduna.
The emir said that, “If governors look at the report and realize that these are real human beings, it is my belief that something positive will come out of it.”
He said, “The meeting will review what we have done in the past and also look at some of the activities lined up.
“It is hoped that the report of our activities in the last two years which will be published soon, I believe will help a lot in addressing or showing our policy makers the impact of interventions in MCH is in their states through the records of deaths and live births.
“We put the reports together with surveillances we have been conducting in the selected local governments.
“I believe that knowing exactly that these figures represent human beings, that they have the responsibility to assist, will ginger some of these governors to put in some more desired effort to save lives especially of our mothers and children.”
He added, “We should endeavor to add in one or two more local governments from the three we are dealing with in each state.
“Our focal persons have gathered enough experience in the last three to four years because we have been engaged in this project and I think the more we can gradually bring on board, the faster we will be able to cover the entire region because this is a regional problem which affects the entire nation.”
“As traditional/religious leaders, we owe it to ourselves to do whatever we can to remedy this bad indices because it is sad that every hour, every day and every year somebody dies trying to give life to someone.
“It is so sad to learn of the death of a very young new born child and the only remedy is to sensitise and advocate to our government to cover the loan to healthcare especially in that sector and the best way is through this work that we are doing.”
The Programme Coordinator/Head of Office, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Mariama Darboe said UNFPA seeks to accelerate access to improved maternal health and to end needless death and suffering of women.
She said, “UNFPA is optimistic because compared to just a few years ago, women’s health has gained increased attention, there is great momentum, there is increasing awareness and commitment to this very important issue.
“The main issue is going back to the basics and focusing on our communities where life changing decisions are made everyday.
“I believe that we have reached a unique point in time and if we commit ourselves to concrete actions, focusing on engaging and partnering with influential opinion leaders such as yourselves and empowering communities to address maternal mortality, there is a great probability that we will finally see the decline in maternal mortality.”
She added, “In the community, maternal and perimeter deaths surveyors response initiatives being led by Sultan Foundation in collaboration with UNFPA, we found out that in communities, 80% of births occurred without the help of skilled attendants, these home deliveries continue to bring about high maternal deaths and disabilities.”
She noted that it is only through a broad-based collation and mutually supportive action that harmonious societies can be achieved.
“If you fail to tackle challenges facing women, we will never overcome poverty or illiteracy, reduce child mortality, achieve universal education or even meet all developing challenges,” she said.