E4A-Mamaye Partners KADMAM to Accelerate Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Kaduna

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

As part of effort to reduce maternal mortality in Kaduna State, Evidence for Action (E4A) on Wednesday unveiled a new intervention program in Kaduna state known as “MamaYe”.

The program being implemented by ‘Options’ a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) supported organization, aims to support accountability mechanism working around health sector in accelerating the reduction of maternal deaths in the state was unveiled during an inception meeting with Kaduna Maternal Accountability Mechanism (KADMAM).

Elkana Aliyu, State Advisor, E4A, in his presentation said the project is geared towards ensuring the best available health system data is used by the right people at the right time in the state.

He added that the project will also facilitates establishment and collaboration with multi-stakeholder accountability mechanism and equally support accountability mechanisms to transform data into easy-to-understand information.

The goal according to him is to achieve quality Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (RMNCH) services for women and children in the state and Nigeria at large and other parts of Africa through a sustained accountability model that delivers prioritized Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (MNCH) and Family Planning (FP) policy and financing.

Mr. Elkana, said the purpose of the meeting is to communicate E4A’s new investment approach, strategies, and anticipated outcomes to KADMAM and to also understand where KADMAM is in terms of its operations and sustainability of its interventions.

“E4A has strengthened accountability through a catalytic approach that supports advocates to forge stronger relationships with decision-makers, use and package evidence, and navigate political interests to enter and work within decision making spaces.

“This fosters active and inclusive participation of citizens in governance, with those most affected by poor public services influencing policy decisions. Where advocates are equipped with the right evidence at the right time, this contributes to increased resourcing for high-quality primary health care services, specifically maternal and newborn health (MNH) and family planning (FP).

“Our  Impact and Learning Study, case studies and advocates’ stories, show that the E4A’s accountability model delivers vital improvements in RMNCH services.  Under this reinvestment E4A will support coalitions to take on full ownership for this model, transitioning away from E4A’s support and expanding their ability to adapt to changes in context.” He noted.

He said through the MamaYe project, it is expected that a resilient State Level Accountability Mechanisms (SLAMs) actioning unique transition plans and advocating in support of priority issues (FP, MNCH, PHC) in target geographies, will be built.

And also an “Increased salience of gender-responsive approaches to RMNCH included in policy agendas and budgets of governments and health services in target geographies. E4A is a sustainable, African-led project, providing demand driven technical assistance to local partners.

“SLAMs access ‘seed funding’ through our flexible funding model, advocate peer support, and SLAMs transition plans. Training SLAMs to advocate for actions that are responsive to gender-based root causes of poor access and RMNCAH service provision. SLAMs diversify their governance and membership structures and integration of gender transformative approaches in Maternal and Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response (MPDSR) tools.”

Citizen Co-chair of KADMAM, Alhaji Mustapha Jumare, noted that the mechanism is fully ready and committed to work with the MamaYe project.

According to him, “we are quite privilege to have MamaYe engaged with us, we have noted some of our areas of weaknesses. We are so glad that it will strengthen the structural position of KADMAM in the midst of coalitions generally.

“I believe that we will work hard to meet up with their own terms so that we reduce the maternal mortality in Kaduna state because the entire concept is trying to reduce the maternal mortality in the 23 LGAs in Kaduna state, off cause KADMAM have been working on that.

“And now that we have an organization that’s here to support Kaduna state and is willing to work with KADMAM, we will ensure that membership of KADMAM works hard to see that maternal mortality is reduced in Kaduna state.”

COVID-19 and High Rate of Conception, Unplanned Pregnancies

Opinion

By Ajani Bless-me Oluwatobi

Nigerians should be concerned about high rate of conception and unplanned pregnancy at this time of lockdown against the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in the country. Though, it might seem that Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) should be the least of our worries during this COVID 19 outbreak, however learning from the Ebola experience, outbreaks such as this increases the risk of the vulnerable population – internally displaced persons, women and girls – to teenage pregnancy, unplanned pregnancy, Sexually Transmitted Infections, Rape, gender-based violence and Domestic violence.
The coronavirus pandemic is affecting the global economy and basically disrupting the world order, and as the days go by and the weeks unfolds, we have continually seen how the unexpected situation affects every aspect of our lives, with many issues taken for granted becoming major dynamics of the life of individuals and communities.
I am sure the question is who thinks about sexual activities when people are getting sick and some are dying from COVID-19. Learning from the Ebola experience, outbreaks such as this increases the risk of the vulnerable population – internally displaced persons, women and girls – to teenage pregnancy, unplanned pregnancy, Sexually Transmitted Infections, Rape, gender-based violence and Domestic violence.”

The social distancing policy, which is the only reasonable thing to do at this time, involved closing down schools, markets etc., hence, makes a lot of people including young people very idle. Consequently, adolescent girls and vulnerable women end up in various compromising situations. For instance, the young girl that find school as a safe space is back in the house with that abusive uncle, neighbor or stepfather; that woman who intentionally spends most of her time selling in the market to avoid engaging in sexual activities with her husband especially for fear of pregnancy is now stuck with him at home, while young people in relationships are more likely to engage in consensual sexual activities this period.

We should be concerned about high rate of conception and in turn unplanned pregnancies at this period. What is our role in making sure everyone is informed of the right options to take up as regards their sexual and reproductive health? This is also a reminder to us that social distancing or the stay at home policy is not a license to perpetuate gender-based violence, rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and domestic violence and bad habit of having sex without a proper plan to prevent unplanned pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Infections.
Also, it is crucial that we all take responsibilities for our sexual needs during this time. Married/co-habiting couples who are not on a long-acting contraceptive/family planning method should remember to stock up on condoms. Young people should endeavor to abstain at this time and if you can’t, get handy condoms and emergency contraceptives. The reality is, this is not a good time to have unplanned pregnancies because the pressure of the pandemic on the health system will affect/disrupt routine Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services such as family planning, ante-natal services, post-abortion care services, immunization services etc.
In addition, government agencies and parastatals should reiterate to the public the implications of perpetrating sexual, domestic and gender-based violence at this time. In addition, they should ensure availability of non-prescriptive SRH commodities such as condoms, emergency contraceptives pills(ECPs) and post-exposure prophylaxis at pharmacies across the country. So these services can easily be accessible to people in their neighborhood hence mitigating the possibilities of increased SRH issues after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finally, as young people, we should endeavor to make good use of this period by engaging in productive self-development activities such as reading a book, trying out new hobbies, digital skills or even documenting your Social Distancing experience. You will be amazed how your writing skill would have improved by the end of this period. Also, remember to pick up SRH products at any closed Pharmacy or Primary Health Center close to you.

Ajani Bless-me Oluwatobi is a
Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) Youth Focal Point, Nigeria
For Development Communications (DevComs) Network and) Nigerian Urban
Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI II).

World AIDS Day Campaign: UNICEF, KADSACA Targets Rural Communities

By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna

As part of activities to commemorate the 2018 World AIDS Day, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said her campaigns would be targeted at rural communities in Kaduna State.

Dr. Idris Baba, HIV/AIDS Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, who disclosed this in Kaduna at weekend, stated that activities for this year’s commemoration would be carried out in rural communities where its Adolescents and Young Persons, (AYPs) intervention programme is currently ongoing.

According to Dr. Baba, the communities are located in seven Local Government Areas of Jaba, Jema’a, Lere, Kagarko, Birnin Gwari, Igabi and Chikun, where access to HIV/AIDS services and information are not adequate like the urban centres.

This year’s World AIDS Day campaign tagged “#IsabiHIV” was flagged off at the National Youth Service Corp, (NYSC) Kaduna orientation Camp on Friday, by UNICEF and the Kaduna State AIDS Control Agency, (KADSACA).

The agencies, cites twelve HIV testing and counseling centres at the NYSC camp ground under the supervision of UNICEF Local Government Team (LGT) from Chikun.

The HIV/AIDS Specialist, explained that there are about 468 AYP Volunteers (ages 14 – 25) working hard in their respective communities together with UNICEF LGT to create awareness and provide testing and counseling services to Adolescents and Young Persons in the seven LGAs.

“We want to ensure that in the next couple of days they intensify their work in this LGAs to reach more AYPs and also make sure that those who are HIV positive are linked go treatment.”

Dr. Baba further said that UNICEF would also engaged the Corp members, and already has come up with national campaign of HIV branded; #IsabiHIV which is at the NYSC camp which would from there moved into the communities.

“We are actually kick-starting from the camp immediately and we hope that the campaign would create the necessary hype required so that people are better informed about what is happening on the World AIDS day; as well availed them the opportunity to know their HIV status,” he said.

He commended the State Government for working hard with development partners to further bring down the Prevalence Rate (PR) from 2.2 per cent to the current 1.1 per cent.

“The population of Kaduna state in terms of number is large, so for every point dropped in percentage for the state means a lot for the country being the 3rd most populous state in Nigeria. So any change in trajectory in the state would mean changing the trajectory for the country,” he said.

The Executive Secretary, KADSACA, Dr. Mark Anthony, said Kaduna state has a cause to celebrate this year’s World AIDS day, but quickly added that it was not yet Uhuru, as the target is to attain zero infection by 2030.

According to him, this year’s World AIDS day theme, “Know Your HIV Status” will lead to the increase of coverage of those that know their status from the current 34 per cent to 90 per cent by 2030 in the state.

Speaking at the NYSC camp, the KADSACA boss said services were being provided, but first people should know their HIV status, adding that treatment which is the bedrock of prevention would follow as the drugs are effective.

He said that the AYPs are the target group by government to access the services, hence the involvement of Corp members, adding that UNICEF has been the bedrock of support to the programme.

The State Coordinator, NYSC Kaduna, Mrs. Walida Siddique Isa, assured of the Corp cooperation and to partner KADSACA for the project.

Speaking through the Camp Director, Mr. Sam Nkwopara, she said the whole camp is awash with HIV campaign.

A male beneficiary, 27 years old, who was very excited said he has just been tested. He informed to a reasonable extent he is aware of the #IsabiHIV Campaign meant to enlighten people more on HIV, the mode of transmission and how one could prevent it.

He said there is a need for people to go for the test, know their status and also be oriented on how HIV could be prevented so that they could be ambassadors of HIV/AIDS the movement that is ongoing.

“That is why when I came for this test I also invited my roommates and they are all here. After the test they too were very excited. For me I am so happy after knowing my status,” he said.

Also, a 21 years old female beneficiary, disclosed that she got tested on Thursday and as at the time of speaking to the media her joy knows no bound when she knew her status.

she disclosed that she now feel bold and confident, with a promise that, henceforth she will try to live safe and stay free, adding that if she must use any sharp object she will make sure it is sterilized.

“To the young people, I would want them to get tested to know their status because it is better to know one’s status so that in case of anything you could do something about it immediately. HIV is real so let everyone get tested,” she said.

Similarly, another female, 24 years old disclosed that she came out to be tested to actually know her status, and now that she knows it, she is very happy.

“Initially, I was very scared but immediately after the test, I became very happy. I have called my other friends to come and experience what I have seen because I am very happy.

“My advice to AYPs is abstinence, but in a situation where it can’t work, the person should protect himself or herself,” she admonished.