20th August, 2010
Henceforth, women participating in elective positions must have basic knowledge of the health needs of Nigerian women. This move is designed to support improved investment in womenâ€™s health following the many challenges that confront maternal health in Nigeria.
This call is coming ahead the forthcoming 2011 general elections where political women leaders, particularly those aspiring for elective positions need to be sensitized on the health challenges of women and recognize the urgent need to tackle them as part of their agenda/manifestoes.
The Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, the advocate of this campaign, described the urgent and imperative need of the forum as a platform for women who aspire for political positions at any level in Nigeria to be fully sensitized on the major challenges that women face.
Participants will converge on Abuja under the auspices of a â€œSensitization Workshop on Maternal Mortality Reduction in Nigeria for the Political Party Women Leaders and Aspirantsâ€. They comprise political leaders particularly those aspiring for political offices. They will discuss ways of reducing the current reported average maternal mortality ratio of 545 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. This is a situation where about 54,000 women die every year as a result of complications of pregnancy and childbirth.
In line with President Goodluck Jonathanâ€™s reaffirmed commitment to achieving a reduction in maternal, newborn and child mortality as a strategic approach to achieving a rapid development, the forum would exist to draw the attention of the National Political party aspirants to the deplorable health conditions of Nigerian women and to mobilize them to recognize the important roles they must play in engendering investment into maternal health as a party manifesto.
At the end of the workshop, it is expected that Nigerian Women Political Leaders and Aspirants will be armed with basic understanding of key issues in maternal health, recognize the need to reduce maternal health mortality and investment more in womenâ€™s health, ensure inclusion of maternal health issues in their political manifestoes at all levels including advocacy for dedicated budget line for free and comprehensive maternal health services, family planning and cancer screening services at all levels.
Amongst the expected outcomes of the workshop is the promotion of accountability on maternal health from all politicians occupying elective positions, the demand for action and investment in maternal health from political peers/leaders, advocacy for enactment of a law on protection of pregnant women and under-5 children in Nigeria, monitor implementation of manifestoes, particularly on womenâ€™s health, promote awareness among peers on issues of maternal health and develop an action plan towards improving investment on maternal health.
Nigeria participated in the ICPD held in Cairo in 1994 and is a signatory to resolutions of the conference. One of the resolutions is the reduction of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality within the context of Reproductive Health. In order to achieve the targets set out in the ICPD Plan of Action, Member States of the African Region adopted a regional strategy for reproductive health in 1997. Similarly, the recently concluded meeting of the African Union (AU) in Kampala, Uganda, President Jonathan, with other African leaders, reaffirmed their commitment to achieving a reduction in maternal, new-born and child mortality as a strategic approach to achieving a rapid development for African countries.