- Sultan: women, child to top agenda of northern traditional rulers council
Paul Obi in Abuja
The federal government monday reached out to the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar III to lead the campaign against maternal and child mortality in the country.
The move came on the heels of Nigeria’s poor performance in the area of maternal, child health as indicators point to the country’s high rate of maternal, infant mortality among other countries.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole made the plea when he led State Commissioners of Health who converged in Sokoto for the 58th National Council on Health meeting to pay courtesy visit on the Sultan in the state capital.
Adewole explained that the council members were committed to implementing Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria, which would ensure that every Nigerian irrespective of where she or he lives would be able to access health without suffering financial jeopardy.
The minister said: “One thing clear to us is your intervention in every health matters would produce dividend, we want to use your name, your office and your personality to drive our efforts to reduce maternal and new born death in Nigeria as you did on polio
“What we want is a situation where our women would survived when they carry babies in their wombs and also that the children they deliver should survive, no woman should die just because she wants to give birth and we believed that your words, your leadership in this initiative would help to convince people that a pregnant woman needs care in the hospital.
“This is our humble request and we are sure that when you agree to take up the leadership we would be able to reduce maternal mortality in Nigeria which is close to what we have in war torn countries, like Afghanistan, Liberia, Sierra Leone. We do not deserved to be in this category, this is our humble request to your Eminence and we believe that you would grant our request, we believe that through you we would make a huge difference in this effort,” he added.
Speaking, the Sultan called on the leaders to provide affordable healthcare services to the people as a palliative to reduce burden of health care on citizens.
“We want to have a hospital where I will be treated and discharge free, we want a clinic where a pregnant woman would go and when she comes out she is much better than when she went in.
“I have accepted the request of the minister, it is our responsibility to work for our people whatever we can do we must do it right, always reach us on any programme you believed that traditional institutions would play their role, we are willing to do so.”
He said: “Men must allow their wives to go to hospital if they really want their wives to be what they are, unless you are tired with your wife and even if you are tired there are better ways to relief her, don’t kill your wife by refusing to allow her to go to hospital when she is pregnant.” he warned.
The Sultan stated that the maternal and child health would be part of their agenda during next Northern Traditional Council Committee on Primary Healthcare meeting
“We would put it in the agenda, how to embark on sensitisation across the villages on allowing our wives, sisters, mothers to go the hospitals when they are pregnant. We have done that on polio and we have succeeded, we are going to place it on our board now the fight against maternal and child mortality in Nigeria.”
The Sultan further urged government at all levels to ensure free provision of antenatal care to attract pregnant women to the hospital, in order to scale down maternal, child mortality in Nigeria.