WIFE of the president, Aisha Buhari, on Monday, raised the alarm over the high rate of infant and maternal mortality across the country, soliciting collaboration from wives of governors to tackle the menace.
She also charged wives of local governments and women at the grassroots level to complement the efforts at extending qualitative health care delivery to the various communities in the country.
The first lady said this in Lokoja, the Kogi state capital, at the opening of a three-day retreat tagged “The role of women in driving the new direction agenda of Kogi state goverment”, organised for wives of local government administrators in the state.
Buhari, who was represented by the former deputy governor of Plateau state, Pauline Tallen, said the figure of infant and maternal mortality released by the global health agencies was alarming and should be addressed.
She said the 576 deaths per 1000 births for preganant women and 201 percent per 1000 life births for infant was unacceptable, tasking the governors’ wives and the spouses of local government chairmen and administrators to be prepared to face the challenge.
The president’s wife stated that the women should be at hand to assist in formulating good policies and implementing programmes that would make live more meaningful to the electorate.
She said since it had been established that majority of the people lived in the rural areas, there was the need to empower the traditional birth attendants in those rural communities to further reduce the mortality rate.
According to her, the traditional birth attendants should be equipped and monitored to ensure that they adhered to standard best practices and contribute to the reduction in infant and maternal mortality rate.
She also advised the wives of the local government bosses to key into the humanitarian programmes of the federal and states governments to enable them reach out to the vulnerable in the society.
The wife of the Kogi state governor, Mrs Rashida Bello, said she was committed to the effective and positive change in the standard of living of women and children.
She said her pet project, the Kogi Women and Youth Advancement Foundation (KOWYAF), had been collaborating with the relevant ministries and agencies to actualise the new direction programmes of government.
She said the zeal in her husband for the development of the state encouraged her to develop programmes and projects that had direct bearing on the lives of the people, adding that such programmes had brought succour and transformation to the people at the grassroots.
Bello, however, appealed to the local government administrators to emulate the governor by providing adequate support for their wives to enable them achieve lofty programmes and projects.