By Lola Seriki-Idahosa, Kaduna, NorthWest, Nigeria.
Maternal deaths, today an avoidable tragedy, still occur at relatively high rates in many developing countries, despite a steep reduction in maternal and mortality worldwide since 1990. Globally, about 289,000 women died in 2013 from pregnancy or birth related causes, only two region, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia accounted for 85% of the global maternal deaths.

To reduce the increase maternal mortality in Kaduna state and Nigeria at large Development Communication (Devcoms) work in partnership with Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) recently  inaugurated a 25-man media forum recently in Kaduna.
Its mandate is to ensure that maternal and child mortality is reduced to its barest minimum in Kaduna State and by extension Nigeria, the Child Spacing.

The Child Spacing Media Forum has already developed a short term work plan. The work plan which covers two months, was developed at its second meeting, held at the I Care Women and Youth Initiative premises recently.

The Development Communications (Devcoms) Consultant in kaduna, Iliya Kure, who guided the deliberation, told the forum that it was important to develop a work plan that would see the group attract more funds for consumables for child spacing, as well as create awareness for demand generation.

He explained that the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiatives (NURHI) would go through the work plan, through its consultancy outfit, Development Communications Network (DEVCOMS) and forward an approved version to the forum for implementation.

In her closing remarks, Chairperson of the forum, Jacquline Adebija assured of the forum’s commitment at reducing maternal and child mortality rate, while charging members to rededicate themselves to the cause.

She assured NURHI and DEVCOMS of the forum’s readiness in being at the fore front of the child spacing advocacy, in view of the health and economic benefits it would contribute to the society.
The draft work plan developed, is expected to cover the forum’s activities for the months of April and May, 2018.

Part of the activities include paying advocacy visits to key policy makers in Kaduna State, Other activities expected to take place include writing of news and features items, live and recorded programmes as well as vox pops.
The forum is also expected to visit key ministries, departments and agencies in Kaduna State to advocate for better funding for child spacing services and consumables in the state.
The next meeting was unanimously agreed to take place on Friday, 27th of April, 2018.
The forum comprises of seasoned Kaduna based journalists from the broadcast, print and online media.

One of the primary aims. of Development Communications (DEVCOMS) networks in partnership with NURHI 2 project is to make child spacing a social norm in the country and has earlier inaugurated a 25-man media forum in Kaduna State.

Members of the forum, known as Child Spacing Media Forum (CSMF) were carefully selected from electronic, print and new media with a view to amplify the need for policy makers to make child spacing services available to all reproductive age women at zero cost.

The development became necessary after painstakingly considered the number of women, newborn and infant that die around childbirth.

During the inauguration Jaquelyn Adebija of a Kaduna-based private radio, Invicta 98.9 FM emerged its pioneer Chairperson, Mohammed Ibrahim of New Nigerian Newspapers emerged as Vice Chairperson while Sola Ojo of Sun Newspapers emerged the Secretary of the forum.

In her inaugural speech, Adebija appealed to members of the forum to cooperate with the executives in ensuring the success of their mandate meant for all Nigerians.

Earlier in her welcome address, Coordinator of the Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF), Sekyen Dadik charged the forum to be committed in advocacy of child birth spacing in order to see that more women and children survive.

Dadik, who spoke on behalf of the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiatives 2 (NURHI 2) said, that those selected had proved themselves in the area of child birth spacing reporting.

In his remarks, Iliya Kure of the Development Communications Network (DEVCOMS) noted that, the key objective of the forum was to create a sustaining child birth spacing advocacy after NURHI’s project ends in two years time.

He said that the NURHI works around three models which are advocacy, demand generation and service delivery, with the media forum having a bigger role to play in the advocacy.

With the inauguration of the forum, it is expected that all angles that matter in the advocacy including the policy makers, traditional and religion leaders, community prime movers and reproductive age women are massively involved through persistent engagement via medium of mass communications.

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