Following the high maternal and child mortality in Ebonyi State, Breakthrough Action, Nigeria (BAN), has inaugurated a 35-member Advocacy Core Committee to intensify the war against the menace.
The outcome was part of its two-day workshop on social and behaviour change advocacy work plan development held in Abakaliki.
The workshop was organised by BAN in collaboration with the office of the wife of the Governor of Ebonyi State with support from USAID.
The committee made up mainly of religious leaders with representatives of Traditional rulers, Civil Society Organisations, government personnel and the Media, is geared towards improving the adoption of priority behaviours across maternal and child health including malaria, Nutrition and Pneumonia.
Advocacy Adviser for BAN, Alhaji Muktar Gaya, explained the essence of the committee to include mobilizing and sensitizing people against myths and misconceptions regarding some health issues within the communities.
He called on the State Government to leverage the results achieved in the six focal local government areas of the Breakthrough Action project in the State to replicate achievement across the entire State.
Gaya said: “The scope and what is expected of the committee is to ensure that they mobilize people, sensitize people, and also talk to people against myths and misconceptions regarding some health issues within the communities.
“For example, they are expected to mobilize women to ensure that they go for ante-natal care once they are pregnant for a minimum of four times.
“The Committee is expected to mobilize women and also men to allow and support their women to deliver in government facilities or health facilities where there are trained health workers.”
Performing the inauguration on behalf of the governor’s wife, the State Commissioner for Health, Daniel Umezurike, noted that the state government has provided health facilities in all parts of the state, charging the committee to be diligent in driving home the message of adherence to the priority social behaviour change for maternal and new born health.
In an interview, the State Director of Public Health and Disease Control, Dr Micheal Urom, decried the high rate of maternal mortality in the state, attributing its cause to some harmful social behaviours such as failure to seek proper antenatal care by mothers.
He emphasized that the Advocacy Core group would work to end these preventable causes of maternal, infant and newborn deaths.
“Over the years we have a high rate of maternal mortality and infant mortality. We know that some of the social and behavioural factors are responsible for this. The importance of this is that we are forming a core group to fan advocacy as a way of reversing some of this preventable factors that are responsible for increasing number of child deaths and maternal mortality,” Urom noted.
The Ebonyi State Coordinator, BAN, Mrs Chidimma Ukoha-Nwankwo, explained that the five-year project in Nigeria is a United States Agency for International Development funded health intervention programme aimed at improving the adoption of priority behaviours across maternal and child health including malaria, Nutrition and Pneumonia.
She noted that the Breakthrough Action presently works in six local government areas across the state, comprising Onicha, Ohaozara, Ikwo, Izzi, Ishielu and Ebonyi.
She said the committee was going to develop a work plan which would be judiciously implemented to support the state to have a very important maternal and child health outcome.
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