To reduce maternal and child mortality in the country, reproductive Health experts have identified self-care as one of the most effective means.
The experts, Country Director, John Snow Incorporated, Dr. Adewole Adefalu, and the Director in charge of family planning, Federal Ministry of Health, Lawrence Anyanwu, stated that ensuring women have better access to health information and more knowledge of self-care would help to reduce not just the rate of maternal mortality but other health challenges.
The experts spoke with PUNCH Healthwise shortly after the Federal Ministry of Health, in partnership with the Association of Reproductive Health, Pathfinder International, and John Snow Incorporated, rolled out self-care guidelines in Gombe State.
According to them, ensuring women have better health education was now crucial to curbing maternal mortality.
Dr. Adefalu stressed that sensitising women about health issues and self-care would ensure they are proactive in seeking help for emerging health challenges, which includes cancer. Adefalu said,
“These guidelines are essential for us as a country to continue to support women and to curb maternal mortality.
“Too many women are dying every day and until we all collectively work towards innovations that can help us to reduce maternal mortality, we will continue to have challenges.
“The government is beginning to look inwards especially for strategies we can adopt to reduce maternal mortality.
“Self-care enables our people to take control of their health. There are basic things women can do without going to the hospital. They can be empowered with information on how to do such things.
“For instance, women can be educated about family planning methods and fertility issues. This knowledge can be useful for women who want to have kids and are having challenges.
“Self-care knowledge can also enable women to be more aware of issues relating to the diagnosis of cervical.”
Adefalu stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has ignited interest in the standardisation of self-care. He added:
“The COVID-19 has taught us all how to think out of the box because of the dwindling resources for the healthcare sector.”
Also speaking, Anyanwu said that the government has realised that self-care can be quite invaluable in improving the health of citizens especially women.
Anyanwu urged stakeholders in healthcare delivery to educate Gombe residents, especially women about self-care. He said,
“We are here to engage with officials of the Gombe State Ministry of Health concerning the national document that we recently developed which has added to the documents we are using to manage the promotion of health and wellbeing of Nigerians.
“This document is the national safety healthcare guideline which the Federal Ministry of Health mobilised stakeholders from the state ministry of health and implementation partners to develop.
“It follows from the global guideline that was released by the World Health Organisation on how self-care can help individuals to initiate certain health interventions to improve their health.
” It focuses on encouraging people to take charge of their health to enable them to know when to seek care from healthcare facilities.”
On his part, the Gombe State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Habu Dahiru, assured that the state government would support the implementation of the self-care guideline, noting that the government was already taking steps to ensure the success of the initiative.
“Let me assure you that government will give high priority to this programme.
“I want to stress that the government will take care of issues relating to counterpart funding and mobilise health workers to key into this programme.
“Let me also tell you that my doors are open for discussion and ideas and as a field man, I will go to the field with you to ensure we take the programme to people at the lowest level in our communities,”