Health experts decry high maternal, child mortality rate in North-East  

Current health indices and statistics have shown that the North-East geopolitical subregion of Nigeria comprising Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and, Yobe States have the highest number of maternal and child deaths resulting from pregnancy-related challenges that are preventable but have been neglected over the years.

The disclosure was made by the Technical Director of a USAID funded project, Integrated Health Program (IHP), Bauchi State, Dr Ibrahim Kabo while presenting an overview of the project at a capacity building training organised for a select group of journalists in Bauchi.

Ibrahim Kabo said that the main objective of the USAID/IHP intervention is to strengthen health system that are supporting primary health care services,  improve access to primary health care services and also to increase the quality of services at the primary health care facilities.

While decrying the high number of maternal deaths due to pregnancy-related challenges in the Northern part of the country with particular emphasis on Bauchi State, the USAID/IHP technical director said that “the overall goal of the IHP intervention is to contribute to the state-level reduction in maternal and child morbidity and mortality and to increase the capacity of health systems to sustainably support primary health care services in Bauchi State”.

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Ibrahim Kabo also said that the project has identified journalists as key stakeholders towards achieving the set goals of the USAID IHP intervention informing that the project is being implemented in the 323 PHCs in Bauchi State, in line with the policy of one functional PHC per each political ward.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Bauchi State Director of USAID IHP,  Dr Al-Hassan Siaka, said Nigeria mostly relies on foreign media to tell its story and that such stories are often disseminated in the way and manner that best suits the media organisations, stressing that,  “in most of the cases, the stories, no matter how beautiful, are told negatively”.

He, however, expressed optimism that, “we can tell our stories ourselves the way that best suits us, we know the issues facing us, therefore we are in the best position to tell the stories accurately in order to attract the needed attention from development partners”.

He added that the media in Nigeria should play the role of promoting health-related issues through effective reportage pointing out that, “The media should uncover the health needs of the populace and awaken the politicians on what they should do to improve the health sector”.

The IHP State Director then challenged  Media practitioners selected to participate in the training to, ” advocate for more attention from the concerned authorities in order to boost the health of the people”.

Presentations on the current status of routine immunization, maternal, newborn, child health, malaria and nutrition (RMNCH+MN) were made by resource persons drawn from the project office. Other topics presented also cantered on  Health Financing, Data Analysis,  Gender/ Inclusiveness and Media Advocacy.

Our correspondent reports that the capacity training workshop for media reporters on health governance reporting attracted Journalists from both the print, electronic and online media.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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