By Iliya Kure
In Gombe State, northeast Nigeria, Journalists have formed a Media Forum on Child Spacing called ‘Media for Child Birth Spacing’ to promote the culture of child spacing in the state.
Their decision followed a media training on child spacing for journalists which looked at various issues including, ‘Cultural and Religious Contexts of Child Spacing;’ ‘Addressing Myths and Misconceptions on Child Spacing;’ ‘Understanding Terminologies in Maternal Health, Policy Environment for Child Spacing in Nigeria;’ as well as ‘Child Spacing and Adolescent Reproductive Health,’ among others.
Gombe State, in recent years witnessed a sharp increase in number of women taking child spacing services, but the progress is slower than expected in attaining the set target of 20% by 2020.
This calls for more investment by government on child spacing commodities and consumables and taking them to additional health facilities, where more women can access services free of charge.
The Media Forum is critical for this cause, because the media is seen as a major promoter of development issues – it is adopted by government and other organisations in sensitisation and awareness creation in major campaigns, including those of public health.
The Child Spacing Media Forum also announced its leaders as (i) Rebecca Caleb Maina of Gombe Media Corporation as Chairperson (ii) Abdulrazaq Mungadi of The Sun Newspaper as Vice Chair, and (iii) Chima Azubuike of The Punch Newspaper as Secretary.
In a speech, Chairperson of the group, Rebecca Caleb Maina, tasked members to contribute their quota in reducing maternal deaths through quality coverages of child spacing activities.
She also solicits their support for the leadership to succeed in its mandate, “we’ll count on your support to succeed in this new role”, she said.
Over the next few months, the group will focus on robust reporting and coverages of child spacing activities and programmes, conducting advocacy visits to policymakers, and holding Forum’s meetings.
The Forum will be supported by Development Communications (Devcoms) Network in collaboration with The Challenge Initiative (TCI), to facilitate the role of media in enhancing policy commitment and community support for increased access to quality child spacing information and services.
Similar Media Forum is being supported in 12 other states comprising Bauchi, Delta, Kano, Niger, Ogun, Abia, Anambra, Plateau, Rivers, Taraba, Edo and Nasarawa.