How community mobilization increase child spacing – stakeholders

April 4, 2020
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From Ali Galadima, Bauchi

As the saying a healthy nation is a wealthy nation and no one can dispute that, in line with this saying various stakeholders working in the health have adopted various strategies towards achieving MDGs goals 6 and 7 to reduce child mortality and to improve maternal health.

Like the observation made by Akinlolu Akinpelumi of DEVCOMS in one of his presentation that, “if Nigeria will be able to achieve improve maternal health and reduce child mortality all the other MDGs goals is achievable.

He said, when a population of a country is been control the people would enjoy certain benefits such as access to water and santation, access to health facilities while in the hand it would help the economic to improve per households and the people would made judicial use of electricity thereby achieving all the MDGs goals.

However, speaking in the same vein, Mrs. Grace Magani, incharge child birth spacing unit, Gwaram Primary Health Center (PHC)  Alkaleri Local Government Area of the state, told our correspondent that before the 72 hour clinic makeover only thirty (30) women were patronizing the clinic to access family planing and child birth spacing information, method and uses.

Mrs. Grace Magani said, “but with the construction of 72 hour makeover clinic and intensive and sustainable campaign from house to house we have sixty (60) women who visit the center regular for various family planning information and uses”.

She said, “the used to come here sometimes with their spouses and sometimes only the women would come. But the movement a woman steps in here and made an inquiry on family planning we attend to her and we provide services to her with or without the consent of her spouses because it is her right to access medical services”.

The officer incharge of the unit explained that, the reason behind their success stories at the community was through the introduction of what they called house to house mobilization where both men and women, health workers, community leaders visit married people to discussed health talk with them especially in the area of family planning and child spacing

“We have been creating awareness on the importance and benefit of child spacing and family planning and people should see reasons why it is important to their life’s and practice it”.

“In her sweet voice, she stated that, “there is less rejection more women and households are now interested not like before were the people were less informed. Beside we never go out of family planning commodities and we managed all related complication that arises as a result of side effects immediately”.

Also, interacting with Mrs. Sa’adatu A.Othman officer incharge family planning unit Bayan Fada Bauchi said that “before the coming of the non governmental organization (NGO) with full support from government the compliance was still very low, but today we have a lot of clients who came to seek for information concerning family planning method and how to access it effectively”.

“We have over six hundred (600) women in our registered who are coming for family planning and child birth spacing information not like before when we were only having one hundred to two hundred (100 to 200) women coming for family planning per month in the clinic”.

Sa’adatu Othman said the strategy adopted was to increase community mobilization through the use of volunteers to go house to house to inform the women about the importance of family planning child spacing and through that they were able to get more clients

She said, some of them get the information during ANC, friends or through the media, naming ceremony, weddings and other places for social gathering

The officer incharge, said that the rate of child mortality has reduce drastically following the increase on access family planning method and child birth spacing.

On resistance,  she said, before they were experiencing some challenges but with the present sensitization and awareness campaign going on so many men are allowing their spouses to come for family planning. Some of them now follow their women to the clinic and share common ideas.

Rukkaya Dahiru, a mother of eight children while narrating her story to New Telegraph at PHC Bayan Fada Bauchi said that family planing and child birth spacing is the good thing that happened to her and her husband.

According to her she was having series of babies without spacing. “I have four children within the intervals of one and the half years, two or less than the two above, but was during my fourth baby that I got information about family and child spacing. I started family planning about ten years ago and I am happy practicing it”.

She said when a woman is allow to practice child spacing she would have enough time discipline her children, play with them, bath them, they will eat well and she herself would look healthy before another pregnancy and the children would also be happier.

“I could recall during that time that I was not practicing family planing things were bit difficult for me and my husband as my body was always weak, the children were always sick no enough time to take care of them property, the house was unkept, the children were unkept as known of them can help himself to talk of helping his brothers but today as I am talking to you the story is not the same as you can see me carrying the eight baby and I am looking healthy with no stress”.

Rukkaya Dahiru 45 years old who got married about twenty years ago, said with child spacing she now give special attention to her children, her husband and have enough strength to do other work and her Joy is that her husband have been supportive

The mother of eight, advises other women that  they should spend more time with their spouses and talk them in details the benefits attach to family planning and child spacing especially where there is resistance from the men while calling on the men to always be supportive and allow their wife’s to partake in family planning and child birth spacing method.

The 45 year old mother lamented that some men have delibrately refused to change their mind set and allow their wife’s to access family planning drugs and information saying is the reposnibility of government to enforce it on them so that we can all have a healthy society.

On her part, Maternal and Child Health Coordinator Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency ( BSPCDA) Hajiya Hanatu Abubakar emphasis that child spacing is very important because it help parents to space their children, it help parents to cater for their children and it help in discipline and promote good health for babies and mother.

Mrs. Hanatu Abubakar reintrated apart from those health benefits people should also be mindful that is also good for the mother and once is good for the mother is good for the family and when is good for the family it would also be good for the society when you have a sick mother the family , the community and the nation would also be sick because there would be increase in social vices, crime, insecurity kidnapping and banditry.

“Family planing is talking about when you want to have pregnancy by choice and not by chance and if you became pregnant by choice it means you really want this pregnancy and you are ready to take care of the baby and afterbirth. A woman should be giving that opportunity to play her role as a member of the family not as a dependent because when I say a dependent your perception you just marry her keep her at home and she folds up her hands she is looking for the husband to bring everything. She did not contribute because she is not productive 

She said that,  when a woman is productive she can give her contribution to the husband when he collects salaries and pay schools fees she would take care of small small issues and if they have a managerble size family that is when she space her family to a few number that they can take care not the number that they don’t even have a space in their house for the children to sleep in and you have to ask your neighbor, please if you have a space 2 or 3 of my would go and sleep in your house and that is one of thing that is bringing about discipline, insecurity and things like in our society because we delivered so many children that we cannot take care”

According to her one of the objectives of child spacing is to improve the health of the mother and if the mother is well it would go down to the family.

Hanatu Abubakar believe that the recent increase in access maternal health was due to some strategies adopted by stakeholders which include, the engagement of traditional institutions, community leaders and various stakeholders through sensitization on the importance and benefits of family planning and child spacing.

“Thank God. The appreciate it and they have seen reason in the sensitization and everybody now understands that,  yes, child spacing is important is beneficial to the family is beneficial to the society. And that is how we were able to preached the gospel of child birth spacing, the wife, the husband, the mother inlaw and everybody is aware of these child spacing is not a new thing it has been practice long ago”.

Speaking on the religion perspective and importance of family planning, child spacing Dr. Revered Shaibu Byal  Provost of ECWA Theological College  and College of Education Bayara said is a straight forward  instruction for all Christian’s and those lovers of the Bible.

Dr. Byall said, God created man in his image and also out of the man he created woman to be able to procreate and multiplied the earth that is why you could see great man like Adam giving birth to four (4) children with his wife Eve. Abraham giving birth to Ismael and Isaac and as a great prophet he had only eight children, six from Keturah, one from Sarah and one from Hagar.

In the new testament, “Jesus teaches us that we should respect the ethics and value human lives to be able to contain the number of children that we would have as a family. While according to Saints Paul in the new testament a Christian is someone who would take care of his family and if you cannot take care of your family you are worse that unbeliever”.

He said it is very important when you have children you know the time you give them and the way you you teach them, instruct them, educate them as well as to be able to take care of their health food and education.

“As a Church, we create time like seminars, workshops especially in the weekends programs for women to talk them about the importance of family planning child spacing to the Church and the society. Sometimes we  bring health personnel to talk on the benefits of child spacing while as a pastor we always tell them how to put it in the right order is not a crime to have child spacing it is you to develop and increase what God has giving you that is what we call share responsibility”.

He recommended that, government as institutions created by God should put the right facilities in the right places especially on issues that affects public health for the women to be able to access health care services.

Also, in an interview with the Chairman Ward Development Communication Committee Gwaram community in Alkaleri LGA Garba Ahmadu (Ciroman Aska  Gwaram) said they were able to achieved success in are of maternal health through aggressive campaign awareness and sensitization of men in their Mosques, houses, wedding and naming ceremonies.

According to the Chairman, the tune out of women access family planning and practicing child spacing has reduce the rate of maternal and child mortality death, frequent illness among children and women resulting from complication of un-sapce children.

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