By Chinyere Amalu
The quest to achive Millenuim Developlment Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 which borders more on reduction of maternal and infant mortality, especially newborns is gaining ground with Nollywood stars getting involved for first time.
This was the latest development with personalities such as Genevieve Nnaji, Joke Silva, Sam Danha, and John Fashanu gathered in Abuja weekend in collaboration with the â€œSave the Childrenâ€ (UK/Nigeria) organisation, to give voice to voiceless children in Nigeria who die as a result of prevenatble and treatable infections.
Speaking, Prof. Oladipo Oladapo, President of ARFH stated: â€œWithout mothers and children there will be no Nigeria.â€ He said the number of deaths recorded as a result of maternal and infant mortality are â€œsheer wastage that copuld have contributed to national development.â€
â€œWe must ensure that our mothers give birth in a well skilled enviorment. We must ensure that quality babies are delivered in the country. Every State government and local governamnets must ensure maternal care.
â€œThere is no wisdom allowing our mothers die in the process of giving life. There is need to do more in saving these lives. Federal government knows what to do to reduce these deaths, but lacks the technicality to do it.
â€œIf mothers are handled by skilled birth attendants, they can be saved, instead of leaving them in the hand of quackery or denying them basic health facilities,â€ he added.
He, however, pointed out that the greatest disparity among the monuitors, WHO and others is inability to advocate for mothers and children to the government through the media.
Country Representative of Save the Child Nigeria, Dr. Hussein Mursal, said the goal is to exercise childrenâ€™s rights for survival.
â€œOur child survival campign would among other things push the health of mothers and young children higher up national and international agendas, making governments more accountable to delivering on the MDGs 4 and 5.
â€œBuild great awareness by connecting with the public and making the issue more obvious; expose false assumptions that prevent decisive action, demonstrate successful interventions and show how they can be replicated,â€ he explained.
He called on Federal government and donors to take necessary actionsand become accountable for their performance in reducing maternal, newborn and child mortality, particularly for the poorest.
â€œCivil society organizations, international and locally need to focus more on this issue. Maternal, newborn and child survival needs to become a key metric of measuring success in development.â€