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FG Takes Advocacy On Self Care To Bauchi State As Maternal Mortality Persists

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By Bashir Abubakar

Despite progress on the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) with an initial 10% in 2010 to 12% in 2018 according to he National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS), maternal mortality indices is still poor in Nigeria, accounting for 5.3% of the total global mortality rate.

This assertion was made by Director Reproductive Health Unit ,Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Kayode Afolabi during a high level advocacy campaign in Bauchi on an intervention tagged “Self-Care” (SC) being implemented by the Federal Government in collaboration with some partners. 

During the visit and  presentation of the advocacy Toolkit and Self Injection  Guidelines to the Bauchi  State Ministry of Health and State primary Health care Development Agency, Dr. Afolabi said that 14 out of every 100 women die as a result of pregnancy and child birth related complication.

He said that to improve the maternal and health indices in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health developed innovative approaches to delivering maternal and child health services that include, Task shifting and task sharing policy, introduction and scale up SC to all states and developing the National Self-Care guidelines.

.”Self-Care intervention is promising to improving health and wellbeing because it increases choice and reduce barriers related to sexual reproductive health services.”

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The Director noted that the policy does not take away power from the health workers but allows them to focus on the most critical patients, stressing  that, “Self care can stop the road to death by enhancing universal health coverage.

He also posited that  self care policy is the ability for individuals, families and communities to promote, maintain health, prevent disease and cope with illness with or without the support of a healthcare provider.

Dr Afolabi who was represented by an Assistant Director, Reproductive Health Unit, Alex Ugochuckwu at the meeting with officials of the State Ministry of Health and State Primary Health Care Development Agency, said self care benefits are enormous .

“The State is expected to align and promote the Federal Governments’ goal of expanding access to self-care initiatives and Self Injection services”.

Country Coordinator, John Snow INC. Access Collaborative Project,  Dr. Adewole Adefalu who spoke on behalf of partners supporting the project said Self-Care provides an opportunity to reduce barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services, and improve the wellbeing of girls and women.

“Self-Care allows people to become agents of their health, leading to improved outcomes in sexual and reproductive health where stigma, distance and over burdened healthcare facilities may have prevented many from seeking care”.

Dr Adefalu the policy is critical now that the country is affected by Covid -19 that has disrupted health care system, noting that self-care is an innovative approach that seeks to reduce pressure on the health system.

“The current Self Care movement will reduce barriers to accessing contraceptives for girls and women and ensure they are empowered to make informed decisions about their health,” he added.

Acting Permanent Secretary, Bauchi State Ministry of Health, Dr. Dayyabu Mohammad, said the state is currently implementing the Task Shifting and Task Sharing policy .

“Self-Care is like what was obtained in the past where people depend on the book ‘Where There Is No Doctor’, but my fear is how it will be implemented to prevent abuse of drugs”.

Also speaking, Executive Chairman, State Primary Health Development Agency, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed said the agency will engage community, religious and traditional leaders to enlighten their subjects on the policy.

“We will increase our risk communication activities to check abuse of drugs among communities”.

Dr Mohammed called for safe care control policies, noting that the agency will study the guidelines before adoption. 

Our correspondent reports that the SC intervention is being supported by WHO, JSI, Pathfinder International, ARFH, SFH and the One Ribbon Alliance Nigeria. 

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