The World Health Organisation (WHO) in one of its recent reports mentioned Nigeria as one of the countries having the highest maternal, Neo-natal and child mortality rates in the world. Again, the UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria noted that in Nigeria, about 26,000 babies die at birth annually. Bill Gates reminded the Nigerian government that Nigeria remains one of the worst places on earth to give birth. Nigeria is on the bad spot in the world map as a place where women are on death row while giving birth. All these and others had encouraged Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), a Nigerian based NGO working for the promotion of human rights, rule of law, democracy and accountability to focus part of their attention at seeing to the reduction of this unwarranted deaths. CHRICED embarks on this through research, training, advocacy, workshop, publication, meetings, education have intervened in ameliorating the problems our women go through during child birth, and nursing of their babies if they are lucky to be living.
The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi 11, recently lamented in tears with newsmen, how a woman who came with her sick child to the palace lost the child while on queue to see him for some financial help. This is just one of many stories of the pains mothers go through daily in Nigeria. CHRICED is galvanizing the citizens, communities, opinion leaders, decision makers support to engage the authorities in solving the problem by channeling the resources allocated for health in the right direction. The Federal Government and States yearly allocate resources for ministries and departments to deliver services to the people but, the way and manner it is used calls for questioning. CHRICED is geared towards re-directing government’s commitment in ensuring decency in service delivery to save mother and child.
The eventual goal and direction of CHRICED in its health project is working to provide efficient and effective health delivery system that will be fair to our women and children. There is no doubt, like in other areas that our women and children are going through deprivation, discrimination, abuse, denial of their fundamental human rights to life. Lack of adequate care, provision of support for decent living by the state is an infringement of rights to life. CHRICED is bent on discouraging the increasing death rate of our women, children during child birth. Leading in this crusade by CHRICED is Comrade Ibrahim Zikirullahi, the Executive Director. He has shown passion, zeal and dedication with members of his staff in the pursuit of this onerous task. They have held several intervention meetings, programs, trainings with government and its agencies, communities, citizens, media and others in actually pushing forward accountability, transparency and responsive use of resources by government ministries in tackling the menace of maternal and child deaths.
Child bearing is not easy, caring for the children is a herculean task for our mothers. So, every hand must be on deck to help in alleviating the sufferings our women passes through especially here in Nigeria. Health, they say is wealth, the health of citizens is used to measure how wealthy a state is. It is healthy people that work, think, read, develop the society, so no government must look away from the health condition of its people. Nigerian government must not ignore the health hazards mothers and children encounter. There are reports that have specifically said that high number of women and children die in Nigeria unrecorded. This is to say that if it is reported as it happens daily at homes, hospitals and clinics, Churches, Mosques and herbal shrines, there will be emergency declaration by the international community.
The Federal and State Governments, National and State Assemblies, health ministries must work hard to ensure that available resources are judiciously used to minimize the death of thousands of women during child birth. Nigeria cannot lay claim to development when its infant and maternal mortality rate is on the increase. CHRICED is therefore in the vanguard of promoting, ensuring good legislation, management and implementation of rules, principles and policies that must enhance positive results in healthcare places.
Other African countries are reducing the number of child and mother death rate in their countries by providing necessary laws, tools and management skills needed for such while, here in Nigeria all our leaders do daily is playing politics with everything thereby allowing the needful undone. For health standard to improve in Nigeria, to save the lives of mothers and children, CHRICED is of the opinion that; there should be free vaccination, immunization, emergency health care for children, free maternal and ante-natal for women. The government should ensure that what is budgeted for is actually released, used for the purpose. There is also need for transparency to show the amount of money that comes in and goes out. There is need for training, enlightenment of stakeholders to support improvement in the healthcare area.
*** Written by Uzodinma Nwaogbe / 0708.438.1845