By Lola Seriki- Idahosa, Kaduna
African Media Development Foundation (AMDF) has said that the Maternal mortality rate in the Northern part of the Nigeria still remains very high and called on the Northern Governors to as a matter of urgency to change their approach in addressing the issues of Maternal death in Nigeria.
Speaking at the Second Annual conference of African Media Development Foundation in Kaduna State, the Coordinator Mrs Sekyen Dadik said ‘’the African Media Development Foundation has come to realized that no development programme and project can succeed without the active engagement of the media this is because the Media has the capacity to influence and change individual’s behavior and lifestyle
She said that “Development partners and funders usually support projects for a particular period of time and leave as soon as the project life is over – whether it is a success or not, but the media remains with the people and its responsibility of enlightening and educating the public continues – to the extent of mobilizing communities to take action on issues that affects them.
“We believe the media need to be engaged the more as advocate of development issues, this will reduce fatigue on the part of Government, Partners, NGOs CSOs, and yield good results.
To this end, MediaAfrica 2017 is x-raying MNCH in Nigeria: Progress, Opportunities and Challenges: Role of the Media in Curbing Maternal Deaths. It is aimed at awakening the consciousness of media practitioners to deeply understand their role in reducing maternal death rate, especially in northern Nigeria, as well as help partners and government on media engagement strategies for effective result.
“Maternal Mortality still remains high in Nigeria – the north contributing the greatest share – the NDHS 2013 pegs the national figure at 576 deaths per 100,000 live births. But Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2015 as conducted by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group, and the United Nations Population Division. Suggests a figure as high as 814 deaths per 100,000 live births.
No doubt this is alarming, and calls for all hands to be on deck to overcome the challenge. Nigeria, especially northern states must change their approach. One potent tool to carry the campaign further is the media – it has proven to be successful in many campaigns through policy advocacy and social mobilization. In the immediate environment, we know it has worked in polio and it is working in family planning/child spacing campaign.
It’s our desire that this conference will go beyond rhetoric to birth action plans that will be duly followed and will be evident in an improved maternal health and significant reduction in maternal and child mortality.
Also speaking, the Chairman Nigerian Union of Journalists Kaduna State Council Comrade Adamu Yusuf hailed AMDF for taking significant step in addressing issues of maternal mortality and training the media to set agenda.
Yusuf further said the Council will continue to support the AMDF to succeed.
The event has the support of Kaduna State Government, Pathfinder, NURHI, DEVCOMS and Nigerian Union of Journalist.