The recently passed Free Maternal and Child Health Law is one which has gladdened women living in the Kumbotso Local Government Area (LGA) of Kano state.
While speaking in a community engagement with Kumboto residents, organized by the Resource Center for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), they stated that beyond having a law that provides for free MNCH in the state, they want the workability of the law in reality, not just in paper.
Ramatu Abdullahi, a Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) is happy that the law provides for a system where deliveries can be done free of charge at government hospitals, which will reduce the burden on TBAs in Kumbotso LGA.
She stated that the expenses incurred at hospitals are a reason that drives women to opt-in for TBAs for deliveries which oftentimes ends in either happiness or sadness, pointing out that with the new law, women can be guaranteed safe deliveries at government facilities.
“It is important that this law works in reality so that women can be able to give birth for free in government facilities because that is what the law says. If people have to pay for a delivery, that contravenes the law.
“I believe that with more enlightenment, women in Kumbotoso and other parts of the state will be aware of this law and see its applicability in reality.” She said.
Recall, that CHRICED was at the frontline of Civil Society Organizations that keenly advocated for the passage of the free MNCH law in Kano.
For Fatima Mohammed, she wants the attitude of Nurses and Matrons in Primary Health Facilities to change positively when interacting with women.
She recalls a time when she was poorly treated by a matron when she went for antenatal in 2018 which according to her made her feel gloomy, as the Matron consistently screamed at her over trivial issues.
“I want this new law to work for the women and uphold our rights as patients because we have rights and it is being trampled upon by some health workers and this happens to other women in Kumbotso and other around Kano.
“Beyond signing this law, we want health workers to respect our rights as women” Fatima added.
Fasuma Abubakar witnessed her sister being neglected overtime when she sought post-natal services at various times which
“My sister had to take traditional herbs because the PHCs were not responding to her and that affected her health because the pain she was feeling increased. She had to go to Abdullahi Wase teaching hospital for proper treatment, because of the negligent attitude she experienced in Kumbotso.
“My prayer is that the new law will address issues such as this so that women will not have to travel long distances for healthcare.” She stated.
Mr Omoniyi Adeoye, the Senior Programs Officer at CHRICED believes that heightened enlightenment will aid people’s knowledge of the law and also make them demand their rights when they seek healthcare at government facilities.
“The government has to engage stakeholders to come up with an implementation roadmap for this law because one challenge which the government expressed is the source of funding for this law to effectively work
“The government can form a synergy between the Civil Society, Development Partners, Aid Agencies, Foundations, and others to get a roadmap to get funds to see that this law provides for the needs of the people in the state” He explained.
For Ramatu, Fatima, and Fasuma, as well as other women, their happiness can be sustained if the government can live up to its words when it signed the free MNCH law.
Accordingly, it will create confidence in the minds of the women that the government isn’t paying lip service to MNCH mortality, but is keenly concerned about lessening the MNCH mortality figures in Kano state.