Northern Traditional, Religious Leaders Brainstorm On Health Issues In Bauchi

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By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi.
Governor Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi state has stressed the need for stakeholders in the health sector to place special emphasis on primary healthcare in order to eradicate problems associated with maternal and child health which have over the years taken a great toll on the people.
The Governor, who observed that primary healthcare formed the bedrock of health activities for the people, said the involvement of traditional leaders and Ulamas in the campaign for immunization and other related activities have over the years contributed immensely in enlightening the local populace.
Governor Mohammed Abubakar was declaring open Monday, the Northern Muslim Religious Leaders Forum on Primary Healthcare workshop on Strengthening Religious Leaders as Advocates for Immunization and Child Nutrition held at Zaranda Hotel, Bauchi.
He acknowledged the immense contributions of Sultan Foundation for Peace Development, and Bill and Milinda Gate in the provision of healthcare services especially on immunization in the Northern part of the country.
Represented by the State Head of Service, Alhaji Liman Bello, the Governor commended the traditional leaders for their commitment and sacrifice on healthcare programme, saying the state government has been making efforts to improve the health condition of the people by playing emphasis on eradication of all diseases those affecting maternal and child health.
The chairman of the occasion and Emir of Bade, Alhaji Kyari Ibrahim Ibn El-Kanemi, in a remark said the forum was to find more ways of improving the health care services of the people, especially through routine immunization against diseases.
Alhaji Kyari El Kanemi who expressed concern on the lukewarm attitude of some parents on the fight against Polio, observed that the disease remains only in the northern part of the country due to the non-cooperation of some parents towards immunizing their wards.
He called on religious leaders particularly Imams to use their pulpits and educate the people on Polio immunization, saying that Muslim countries like Indonesia and Pakistan have all certified that the Polio immunization is free from all evils.
Also speaking, the representative of Qadiriyya sect, Dr. Mansur Datti Kabara, called on Muslims to refrain from criticizing something they have little or no knowledge about.
Dr Kabara, who is the Chief Imam of Darul Qadiriyya Mosque in Kano, appealed to parents to prevent their children from fallen victims of Polio by allowing them to be immunized against the scourge.
In their separate goodwill messages, Sheikh Hassan Abubakar Dikko from Jama’atul Izalataul Bidiya Waikamatul Suna (JIBWIS) Jos and Alaramma Sanusi Abubakar from the National Qur’anic Research of Nigeria, called on stakeholders not to relent in enlightening the doubting thomases on the genuineness of the Polio immunization.
Bauchi State Commissioner of Health Dr. Halima Mukaddas disclosed that the state government plans to utilise traditional rulers and religious leaders in the ongoing fight against deadly diseases in the state.
Earlier in a welcome address, Executive Secretary of the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (PHCDA), Pharmacist Adamu Ibrahim Gamawa said that globally 2.5 billion people (including 840 million children) do not use improved sanitation and about 1.2 billion practice open defecation.
He gave two causes of mortality among children under age five are acute respiratory infections and diarrhoeal diseases which are closely linked to poor water, hygiene and sanitation.
“Out of the 1.8 million people estimated to die each year from diarrhoea, 1.5 million are children. Repeated diarrhoeal episodes are a significant underlying cause of malnutrition, leading to weakened immune systems and impaired growth and development”, Gamawa said.
A number of traditional and religious leaders from across Northern states attended the workshop where a number of papers were presented that include ‘Understanding basics of Immunization and its benefits, Islamic perspectives of Immunization, and Eradication of Preventable Diseases through Community Sanitation’, among others.

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