Thursday, 15 May 2008

NIREC meets, calls for acceleration for the attainment of MDGs 4 and 5

The quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) ended last week with the council urging the governments, groups and all Nigerians, particularly the Faith-based Organizations to build a systematic platform for peace and religious harmony in Nigeria through the promotion of socio-economic justice, transparency and good governance.

This, according to the council, this would help to accelerate the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals MDGs for reducing maternal mortality and promoting child survival.

This was part of the resolution from the meeting at the Maiduguri International Hotel, which held from May 4th to 7th 2008, under the Co-Chairmanship of the Sultan of Sokoto, who is also the President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar CFR; and the President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His Grace Archbishop John Onaiyekan, (CON).

The council asserted that in spite of its human and material resources, Nigeria’s maternal and child morbidity and mortality rate are some of the highest in the world. It appealed to all citizens to support the government’s campaign for eradication of polio and other childhood diseases by accepting immunization. This is one of the cost-effective interventions under the integrated maternal, newborn and child health strategy of the federal ministry of health aimed at reducing the maternal and child mortality.

The council stated that pervasive poverty, denial of basic amenities, insecurity and collapse of infrastructure are some of the sources maternal and child mortality. It urged the government to increase the tempo of sustainable measures for the eradication of poverty through job and wealth creation which will channel the energies of our youths towards productive ventures.

The council acknowledged that HIV/AIDS has added to the country’s disease burden and that Nigerian youths who are the country’s hope constitute the most vulnerable group of those infected. It called on Faith-based Organizations to educate their members on the tenets and injunctions of their religion to limit the spread of HIV/AIDS and reduce the high number.

By Nnenna Ike

Monday, 5 May 2008

CHIEF commends Media advocacy for MNCH

The Health Journalist Immersion Project for the media advocacy for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) has been described as one of the most effective means for ensuring the improvement and implementation of all health policies especially those that relate to women and children. This assessment was made by Mrs. Remi Akinmade, Executive Director of Community Health Information Education Forum (CHIEF), a non-governmental Organization during a courtesy visit made by Devcoms to their office in Lekki, Lagos.

According to her, health mortality and morbidity rates have remained high in Nigeria largely due to ignorance. There is an urgent need to bring health information education communication to the doorsteps of individuals, families and communities. This is the point where concerted efforts by grassroot organizations such as CHIEF, in active partnership with journalists would reveal the health realities so as to educate the public. This would also ensure that policy makers know exactly where there are gaps in policy implementation and practices that would ameliorate them.

She stated that correct information is vital as it has saved the lives of many community women, especially when it was difficult for them to access health care services. Through proper information, they know how to take better care of themselves and their children, understand the need to attend ante-natal clinics, and know when it becomes imperative that they access healthcare.

She urged other organizations to partner with Devcoms to bring about the needed change in the implementation of maternal, newborn and child health policies in Nigeria. Akinmade urged the media not to relent in the effort at drawing attention to the inadequacies in our health care system especially as it concerns women and children who are, most times, the vulnerable and unvoiced segments of the society.

CHIEF is grass-root organization based in Lekki, Lagos whose vision is to promote grass-root health development, communication and care. Amongst their objective is to reduce maternal/infant morbidity and mortality rate through establishment of primary health clinics/outreach clinics and to promote home-based care in the community.

By Nnenna Ike