The Emir of Shonga in Kwara State, Dr Haliru Yahaya says his Emirate Council will henceforth hold District heads and heads of household accountable for any maternal death in the community.
Dr Yahya said this in his palace during a Basic Orientation on Obstetric Fistula organised by Engender Health, implementer of USAID Fistula Care Plus Project for Religious and Traditional Leaders in Shonga community.
He expressed concern over the rate of childbirth-related deaths and complications in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.
The Emir who is a Medical Doctor by profession advised women to attend antenatal care at least three times before their delivery date in order to avoid complications such as Fistula during childbirth.
The traditional ruler promised that all his subjects would be mandated to account for any complications as a result of childbirth in their domains, pointing out that both the government and the community have roles to play in eradicating the scourge of Fistula in Nigeria.
In his lecture, the Fistula Desk officer at the Kwara State Ministry of Health, Dr Stephen Arigidi called on every community leader to be supportive of pregnant women in avoiding delays in seeking health care, reaching healthcare facilities on time and receiving health care service at the provided facilities.
Dr Arigidi described the death of a pregnant woman as a national tragedy, appealing to community leaders to assist pregnant women in accessing appropriate healthcare at health facilities.
He advised traditional and religious leaders to join in the campaign for encouraging pregnant women to attend antenatal regularly and allow skilled birth attendants to take their deliveries.
Another health facilitator on Family planning, Miss Ayo Daniels urged the gathering to imbibe child spacing in order to have healthy families.
On her part the Community Mobilization Specialist for Engender Health, Amina Bala explained the roles of Fistula Care Plus Project in Nigeria to include discouraging stigmatization of Fistula clients, providing counselling for women with Fistula, reintegration, advocacy and donation of medical equipment to health facilities.
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