By Abdallah el-Kurebe
Sokoto – The Sokoto State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jabbi Kilgore, has identified three barriers that militate against maternal and child survival in northern Nigeria, which he argued should be tackled urgently in order to check the alarming mortality rates.
Speaking at a three-day leadership development retreat organised by Centre for Development Research and Projects (DRPC), Kano in conjunction with USAID, for local government chairmen from Zamfara State, Dr. Kilgore said the barriers included economic, physical and social barriers.
He said: â€œWhile poverty resulted in the inability of the people to pay for health services in the face of competing needs, physical distance from health facilities and so many social religious, political issues hinder people from going to hospitals.â€
Noting that the northern region of the county lacks adequate health personnel, Kilgore expressed concern that â€œin every five pregnant women in the north, one stand risk of not surviving,â€ and described maternal mortality as a critical issue that deserved urgent attention of leadership and the followership.
â€œWe need to be very proactive. We have to make a lot of sacrifices if we are to allow our children and pregnant women to survive,â€ he said.
In a welcome remark, DRPC Coordinator, Dr. AbdulQadir Ibrahim, said good health for a healthy society needed decent budget allocation and disbursement.
Ibrahim who noted that Nigeriaâ€™s maternal mortality burden was over 80 per cent, stressed the need to stop women from preventable deaths.
â€œWe should not put all the blame on the Federal Government as the southern part of the country has a remarkably lower maternal rate. We should not even put all the blame on our state governments as even within the north, the North Central zone has a lower maternal mortality rate than the North-West or North East. In essence, good leadership is what makes a people respond to and overcome the challenges confronting them using the resources available to them,â€ he said.
He noted that â€œlocal government chairmen and their counsellors have an onerous responsibility as leaders to use the resources entrusted in their hands, transparently and prudently for the benefit of their people.â€
Meanwhile, DRPC is orgainsing similar retreat for local government chairmen in Gusau, capital of Zamfara State.