By Abigail Bako
The contributions of family planning initiatives to improving maternal and child health indices cannot be overemphasised, hence, efforts by Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) to ensure more women in Kaduna, North West Nigeria have access to variety of childbirth spacing methods.
Apart from the provision of free commodities for childbirth spacing by Nigerian government to its citizens, NURHI has renovated some Primary Health Care facilities to provide clean and conducive environment for provision of services to clients.
The Childbirth Spacing campaign, driven by NURHI has gained support of religious, traditional and community leaders who have also championed the cause to mobilise and enlighten their followers.
The District Head of Jaji, Kaduna state, Danjuma Mustapha recently told Journalists during the tour of health facilities renovated by NURHI in his domain that the palace is doing a lot in mobilization and enlightenment of women and men on the importance of childbirth spacing.
He commended NURHI’s social mobilization strategy, which he said has positively impacted both men and women resulting in a massive turn out at the family planning facilities.
He said the just concluded 72-hour makeover (renovation) of the Jaji Primary Health Care by NURHI was a welcome development and assured that the traditional council is fully in support of every step that will be taken to promote child spacing in Jaji. He called on the state government to join forces with NURHI in the provision of everything needed to maintain effectiveness of the facility.
He debunked assertions that Islam was against Child Spacing saying: “I don’t think Islamic religion is against child spacing, that is why we talk to the men in mosque on the importance of child spacing and also enlighten them on the dangers of the mothers health if she does not space her children. And even with the discouragement from some fanatics so many people are still interested in child spacing”.
The Family Planning Provider who is also in charge of the facility, Hauwa Sani commended NURHI for its effort in childbirth spacing campaign. She said “NURHI has really done a lot for our family planning unit; they provided us with everything both the commodities and consumable and also help us in creating awareness”.
She revealed that the response was encouraging as most men now support their wives and even bring them to the facility. She said the men sometimes come alone to the facility for enlightenment on child spacing before bringing their wives and attributed this to NURHI’s giant stride in creating awareness among the people.
Hauwa added that “child spacing has come to stay and it will go a long way to put an end to maternal and child mortality, because so many women die out of ignorance, but now that there has been a lot of enlightenment and awareness programs women now know how best to maintain their health”.
At the Kanfanin Zango primary health care also in Igabi local government of Kaduna state, the turnout was impressive as so many women were been counseled on the different methods of family planning, so they could make a choice while some were waiting to be attended to.
The medical officer in-charge and family planning provider, Hadiza Bello said NURHI has contributed to the development of their primary health care center by building a new family planning unit and also provided new equipment and everything needed. They also set up a health committee who have did well in mobilizing the men in Kamfanin Zango to support their wives, and so there have been a massive attendance in the facility.
It was a motivating one at Kwarau Tasha primary health care center with a very clean environment; NURHI just like in other places had renovated not only their family planning unit, but the whole facility and also provided the needed commodity and consumables for family planning.
Hindatu Adamu Rigachukun the facility in-charge and family planning provider said they have been able to achieve a high response from women who are interested in child spacing because there is an amiable relationship between the health workers and the people in the community.
She said to encourage the people to embrace child spacing, the health workers attended a lot of the ceremonies that take place in the community like weddings and naming ceremony and use such occasion to enlighten women and even men on the importance of child spacing. Sometimes they visit them in their houses to talk on the issue of child spacing and nutrition.
Hindatu was able to bring in the religious aspect of child spacing to the people, she said “Islam is not against child spacing, as a Muslim and also a health practitioner I know that the religious aspect of child spacing is the method of breast feeding for 24 months; the difference is that there are so many new method now.”
At the Mando primary health care center, Lami Dauda Amutu in charge of the family planning unit noted an increase in attendance as over 170 clients were consulted between 16th November and 14th December 2016, this she attributed to the awareness programs by NURHI and the facility development committee made up of the traditional leaders, the youth and some members of the community who have shown a high level of support for childbirth spacing.
The Rigasa General Hospital attracts so many people, most especially in the family planning unit. The unit in-charge Tawakaltu Imran said since the commissioning of the 72-hour makeover family planning clinic has encouraged a good response even the men that were against child spacing are now in support.