.Kano First Lady to Orphans: You can't be leaders without education

…2,000 pregnant women die of maternal mortality – Expert

By Bashir Bello, KANO

The Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education, CHRICED has advocated for the passage of the bill on free Maternal and child healthcare into law in order to reverse the alarming rate of maternal deaths in Kano State.

The Centre’s Executive Director, Ibrahim Zikirullahi who made the call during a one day workshop to validate the draft bill on free maternal and child health, stressed the need to ensure the passage of the bill into law in order to provide legal backing to the programme and ensure successive governments continue the programme to address the menace in the state.

This was coming as Director-General, Kano State Hospitals Management Board, Nasiru Alhassan represented by Dr Maryam Suleiman simply puts the number of death recorded in the state as a result of maternal deaths at over 2,000 which accounts for the highest in the country.

In his words, Zikirullahi said, “The Kano State government during the former governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s administration initiated an executive order granting free Maternal and child health in the state. Do not forget that, that government was a joint government of Kwankwaso and Ganduje, then Governor and Deputy Governor respectively. And after Kwankwaso, Ganduje took over the helm of affairs and continued with that legacy.

That order is still been implemented but we are not there yet as there is no legislation. And so, there is this fear that what becomes after Ganduje left office. Who knows whether the next Governor would share the same perspective and view about Maternal and Child Health in the state.

And what if he decides to erase or cancel whatever Ganduje has done overnight. Therefore, it becomes very germane to talk about it from this perspective. Having a law in place to encapsulate the free Maternal and Child Health in the state.

“And as it is, the issue of maternal death in Kano is alarming. Kano accounts for the highest maternal deaths in the country. One because of the huge population, illiteracy rate, poverty rate, infrastructural deficit and other lots of challenges.

“So it is to continue that legacy and sustain that effort that has been put in the past, that CHRICED deemed it fit to reawaken the past efforts to see what we can do together to get this executive order passed into law.

“These informed the decision by CHRICED to invite the stakeholders from the government side, Emirate, religious bodies, Civil Society groups, community members and others for this critical meeting to find a way to curb maternal deaths and prevent our mothers, sisters and daughters from the preventable deaths. Because it is an issue that affects us all in one way or the other.

“There is no specific legislation in place that is guiding even the behaviour of the people themselves (does and don’ts), standard the health facilities should attain to be able to care for the residents, what companies or philanthropists can contribute to the system to make sure that those who don’t have are well-taking care of. So we felt there is a need to have a clear vision and share the responsibility to drive the fight against maternal and child deaths in the state.

“So after the validation is done, we would take the bill to the lawmakers for consideration and passage into law.

“If implemented and enforced, the law will restore confidence in the ordinary people and the donors too. It will give confidence to the donor communities who are desirous of assisting or supporting because they know their money is well utilized and there is a process of accountability. Similarly, It will give confidence to the ordinary people that if they go to the hospital they will be attended to and the medical personnel can be held accountable for the way they behave to them.

“It would also create a pull of fund for the state because it’s not going to be a one-off thing as it needs huge resources and that let it be a shared responsibility that the companies contribute even if it is one or two per cent of their profits to cater for maternal and child health in the state. And when that is done, resources will come to the state pursue,” Zikirullahi said.

In his remarks, the Director-General, Kano State Hospitals Management Board, Nasiru Alhassan represented by Dr. Maryam Suleiman said the state losses, women and children, on daily basis to maternal and child deaths.

“There is no day in Kano that women or children do not die. Most maternal deaths are preventable. These women should not die. They are dying because something right is not been done. So in Nigeria, Kano has the highest number of maternal mortality. The figure in Nigeria is usually quoted at over 800 but in Kano, it is more than 2,000.

“So we should have at the back of our mind that we could be a direct beneficiary of the draft to prevent the maternal deaths,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Chairman, House Committee on Health, Kano State House of Assembly, Nuhu Abdullahi represented by Tijjani Shehu Adams assured the gathering of the speedy passage of the bill into law upon submission before the assembly.

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