Maternal, Infant Morality: Media Tasked To Scale Up Family Planning

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NUJ President, Chris Isiguzo


By; TINA PHINEAS, Yola

According to the World Health Organisation, 830 women die everyday from preventable causes related to pregnancy and child birth, more worrisome is the fact that 99% of all maternal death occur in developing countries.
Over the years maternal and prenatal death have been on the increase in Nigeria with detrimental effects on the socio-economic development of the country.
Concerned over this plight, the Rotary International in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, with support from the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and  Rotary Action Group for Reproductive Maternal and Child Health (RMCH) organised a 3 day Virtual training for Journalist to help change the trend.
The training with the theme ” How Family Planning can Avert Maternal Death in Nigeria” was geared towards equipping journalist with adequate knowledge on family planning, to help them promote its benefits on the society. 
New Nigeria reports that over 60 career journalist from different parts of the country were saddled with the responsibility of creating awareness on family planning among Nigerians,
Participant at the training were educated extensively on Family Planning, and were charged to use the agenda setting function of the media to take action; change behaviour, debunk  myths, misconceptions and controversy on the use of contraception.
Addressing participants during the training, Professor Emmanuel Adedolapo Lufadeju, National Coordinator of RMCH, said Rotary International started its first project towards reduction of maternal death in Nigeria in 1995 and lasted to 2000.
Lufadeju maintained that the project was called Child Spacing and Family Health, and was based on four pillars which include; public awareness campaign to educate people on the benefits of family planning.
Others are training of medical and para medical staff to build their capacity, provision of essential health equipments in hospitals and health facilities and lastly, to make contraception more widely available.
” During the first five years of the project, contraception usage soared from 3 to 27%; between 2008 and 2010, infant morality declined by 15%, while maternal morality reduced by 37%, Lufadeju stated.
He therefore urged the gentlemen of the press to use information at their disposal  to advocate and encourage the the use of contraception as a means of reducing maternal and child mortality.
 Earlier, in her welcome address, Dr. Mrs  Salma Anas- Kolo, Director family health, FMoH Abuja, decried the presistant high maternal and infant morality in the country.
She said the media is a critical partner in the  fight against high mortality in the country.    
 Anas-Kolo challenged journalist to help disseminate quality information on Reproductive Health to help scale up the use of modern contraception and family planning services.
New Nigeria reports that during the webinar, papers were presented by experts in the academia, medical  and media sector, which include Dr. Kayode Afolabi (O & G), Director Reproductive Health, FMOH,  Professor Josiah Mutihir, JUTH, Jos, Professor Hadiza Galadanchi, AKTH, Kano and Shifa Mwesigye, RMCH Germany.
Others are Professor Oladipo Shittu, Provost FUHSO Otukpo, Professor Abubakar Panti, UDUTH Sokoto, Mrs Ladidi Bako – Aiyegbusi, Director Health Promotion Unit FMOH, Dr. Samuel Oyeniyi, Deputy Director safe motherhood and Dr Nicholas Lack, Consultant on RMCH.
At the end of the meeting, some participants who spoke to our Correspondent, promised to embark on aggressive communication campaigns that will address the barriers of family planning.

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