FOMWAN/PACFaH canvass traditional leaders’ support in fight against child killer diseases
Muslim community pledges support
The Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria (FOMWAN) in collaboration with the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health in Nigeria (PACFaH) a coalition of seven indigenous civil society organizations that works on nutrition, child killer diseases, routine immunization and family planning, have canvassed the cooperation of traditional leaders in Lagos to help in advocating for positive change to reduce avoidable deaths in poor mothers and children in Nigeria.
This among other issues formed the basis of discussion when FOMWAN/PACFaH group paid advocacy visit to the Wheno Aholu Menu-Toyi 1, Akran recently.
According to the project director, Farida Sada Yusuf who was ably represented by the programme officer, Hajiya Adama .M. Kachalla, the group is soliciting support of the traditional rulers and to encourage government at all levels on the need to see that its citizens live healthy life style by addressing health challenging confronting its citizens especially women and children such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, routine immunization, nutrition and child spacing.
“As a traditional leader with enormous track records chosen by your community, FOMWAN/PACFaH feels you have an important role to play in this project by lending your voices to talk with the policy makers on the challenges facing innocent children and mothers of reproductive age,” she said.
While sharing the overview of the four PACFaH advocacy issues for government’s intervention, Hajiya Kachalla noted that pneumonia and diarrhoea is the second and third single killer of children after malaria.
“Together, pneumonia and diarrhea kill over 400, 000 children yearly in Nigeria. From the most recent Nigerian Demographic Health Survey (NDHS 2013), 9% of children under five die as a result of diarrhoea and 10% as a result of pneumonia in Lagos state.” she said.
The project director also requested the support of the traditional rulers in informing their community to use the Zn-LO-ORS for the treatment of diarrhoea for under-5 children, instead of flagyl and go to the hospital immediately for proper treatment, as recommended by the government.
According to her, the 2013 NDHS collected information on the coverage for vaccinations as well as for hepatitis B vaccination among all children born in five years which presides the survey with Lagos State recording 53. 9% making a pace of progress is still far from satisfactory. “These falls below the increase needed to achieve the MDG target of more than 90% by 2015 and we are asking for increase domestic budge and ensure timely release of funds for vaccination logistic,” she said.
“In Lagos according to her report, the level of stunting (height for age) captured in the NDHS (2013), the most recent, is 37%, the wasting (weight for height) level is 18% while the percentage of underage children is 29%. When a child is malnourished, the immune and cognitive functions decrease and can be prone to various preventable childhood killer diseases. We are requesting for adoption and proper implementation of National Strategic Plan of Action on Nutrition.
“The National Population Commission and ICF international reports on child spacing in Lagos as at 2014 shows that the percentage of married women who use contraceptive in Lagos decreased from 49.6 to 48.3%. Also 12% of married women do not want children and are also not using child spacing commodities. Most families who use child spacing methods rely on traditional methods like rhythm or withdrawal method which have high failure rates leading to unintended pregnancies. Unfortunately, health budget allocation has taken a dive in 2017, its now only 57.2 billion (7.05%) as compared to 64.6 billion (9. 76%) in 2016.
“In general, FOMWAN/PACFaH team is requesting Your Majesty to champion the cause of child spacing and family health and encourage the government of Lagos state for adequate funding timely release and its judicious use,” she requested.
While expressing his acceptance to the visit, Akran of Badagry Kingdom said: “I wish to assure you that your request will be granted because we are for the people and we won’t want anything to happen to the people. As far as we are concerned we will make sure that we speak with the government, members of the house and all the notable people in the community to make sure that what you are advocating is realized.
“Children and women’s health are very important. I don’t see why government should help them. We will do our best and I hope that all the traditional rulers will do their best to speak with all concerned and I wish to assure you that we, traditional rulers will make everything achievable,” he assured.
… Visits Lagos Central mosque
Meanwhile, the Muslim Community of Lagos State has pledged its full support and readiness to work with FOMWAN/PACFaH.
The Muslim group made the commitment when FOMWAN/PACFaH paid a courtesy call to the Central Mosque in Lagos Island to solicit their support in appealing to the government to look at the four critical areas of focus which are: proper management of childhood pneumonia and diarrhoea, routine immunization, nutrition, and child spacing by increasing the budget to address them.
Hajia Adama. M. Kachalla, the programme officer, while speaking at the event also wants the chairman of the Muslim Community of Lagos State to educate his followers on the treatment of pneumonia and diarrhoea for under-5 children in accordance with the government’s guideline which is the adoption and listing of Amoxicillin DT as the first line drug.
Alhaji Fatimoh Balogun, chairman of Muslim Community of Lagos State, expressed joy over the visit saying: “I am extremely delighted with your advocacy which the association of Muslim women Nigeria and other agencies is doing. Believe me, it is fantastic and I assure you that you are actually taking part of the duties of Muslim Community of Lagos State under Health and Social Welfare. You are helping us to carry out our programme, why won’t we support you?
“We will give you all the necessary support and we are saying these important areas that you are tackling; management of pneumonia and diarrhoea are important because in our statistics we know these are great killers in our community. Then of course, routine immunization, we know that we have programme for that, we have been going to communities and we have been giving vaccines to help the government (since) government cannot do it all. Then on nutrition, this is very important. Enlightenment is very important and child spacing which is family planning; these are very areas that need to be tackled,” he noted.
To prove their support, he gave out some action plans which he had drawn in support to FOMWAN/PACFaH advocacy. “We need to write a comprehensive paper presenting this. With the paper, we will go with you to the Commissioner for Health as representative of Muslim Community of Lagos State and of course all other agencies of the coalition that this is a programme we are suggesting to the government. Also to Commissioner for Home Affairs, we will present it to them and we suggest all these things and equally highlight the budget aspect.”