By Musa Na Allah Sokoto
A project, USAID Momentum Safe Surgery in Family Planning and Obstetrics, has called on journalists to ensure increased public awareness of Fistula, unsafe surgeries, and other poor reproductive health habits in society.
The project is aimed at reducing fistula cases, shunning cultural norms in maternal health, and promoting safe reproductive health services among others.
The Country Representative and Project Manager, Dr. Kabir Atta made the call in his address at an engagement meeting with members of the Sokoto state correspondents chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists and Directors from the state Ministry of Information, Local Government Information Officers, and Hospital Public Relations Officers on Thursday in Sokoto.
Dr. Atta underscored the importance of media on sensitizing people noting cases of fistula, unsafe surgeries, Female Gentile Mutilation (FGM), harmful practices, and other poor reproduction health practices needed increased attention in Nigeria.
He said maternal and child mortality rates need collective concern from stakeholders as well as changing the poor people’s attitudes and perceptions toward accessing the right healthcare services along with the availability of standard health facilities in Nigerian communities.
He explained that the project was launched in June 2021 hoping to end by Sept. 2025 with budgetary support of 10 million US Dollars.
According to him, the project focuses on surgical obstetrics care, safe and appropriate cesarean delivery, and peripartum hysterectomy along with FGM prevention and management.
He noted that the activities are in partnership with the federal government and States ministries of health in focus areas that comprised Ebonyi, Bauchi, FCT, Kebbi, and Sokoto.
Dr. Atta said the project is geared to ensure adequate knowledge of health services, harmful social and gender norms, lack of trust in the health system, financial and geographic obstacles, and poor linkages to facilities.
”It was also to enlighten people on the existing gaps, insufficient staff, lack of skills and support provider bias, fear of blame, disincentives for appropriate care, infrastructure, equipment and supply gaps, lack of process for respective quality care.”
He urged Journalists to facilitate the adequate provision of resources, provide evidence-based guidance, adequate data provision, and highlight the absence of compensations.
The Country Representative added that the project would also strive toward facilitating a referrals system, need to support and scale best practices, lack of private sector engagement, and need for increased collaboration with civil society.
He further explained that the project is built upon the five-year National Surgical, Obstetrics, Anesthetic and Nursing Plan (NSOANP), a strategic priority for surgical care intended to provide a realistic assessment and situation analysis of the state’s surgical care in Nigeria.
He stressed that the plan help in proving a clear road map of implementation and evaluation mechanism toward harnessing emergency access to surgical care by people.
According to him, the vision is to have a national healthcare system that is responsive to all surgical needs of all citizens at all times.
The overall effort is to integrate surgical, obstetrics, anesthetic, and nursing care into the national healthcare system so that appropriate surgical care is provided to all adults and children at all levels.
Journalists in syndicate groups made presentations on causes of fistula, risks, and other associated disorders, deficiency of surgical needs by citizens among others.
MOMENTUM or Moving Integrated, Quality Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health and Family Planning and Reproductive Health Services to Scale is a suite of projects that aims to accelerate reductions in maternal, newborn, and child mortality and morbidity in high-burden countries by increasing host country commitment and capacity to provide high-quality, integrated health care.