The senator representing Kogi Central senatorial district, Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, on Wednesday, urged federal government to prioritise maternal mortality in its budget to curb the rate of deaths during childbirth.
Senator Natasha made the call during the 2024 Budget Defence/Interactive Session between Senate Committee on Women Affairs and the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye.
“I have looked through your budget and I can identify some projects here; construction of blocks of classrooms in Kano, rehabilitation of Central Mosque and Islamic library in Zamfara, procurement of Cargo tricycles for farmers in Abia, provision of street lights in Anambra, and the list goes on. I don’t understand how these projects connect to addressing issues of women.
“Maternal mortality today according to World Health Organisation stands at 1,047 out of 100,000 live births. That is data generated from the urban areas where research is easily conducted. In factual consideration of rural areas, the figure would triple more.
“I am from Kogi Central, we have five local government areas, and access to good healthcare services in the communities is very difficult, especially for women.
“I am not exaggerating if I say not less than ten women die daily from obstructed labour amongst other complications. There are no ambulances to commute emergency cases to hospitals and many babies die because there are no functional incubators in the entire Kogi. I stand to be corrected.
“Hon. Minister, instead of roads and street lights, we want functional primary healthcare centres in rural communities with incubators and ambulances… even if it’s a tricycle just like India,” she opined.
She added; “Last week, I made a statement calling on the federal government to address the primary healthcare centre situation in Kogi Central and there were some uproars, the debate was about whether it is the duty of the federal government or the state government to provide primary healthcare. Many people are ignorant of the responsibilities of the Federal Government to the right to citizens’ lives and access to healthcare services. A lot of sensitisation must be made”.
Senator Natasha also stressed the need to establish synergy between the Ministry of Women Affairs and National Primary Healthcare Development Agency; and other MDAs that can collaborate to help mitigate the issues facing women in Nigeria.
“For women entrepreneurship support in areas of Agriculture, ICT, education, etc, you can harness the African Development Bank’s programme called AFAWA (Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa where $1 billion in approved funding designated for lending to African women entrepreneurs was recently launched,” she stated.
Sen. Akpoti-Uduaghan further assured the Hon. Minister of the support of the four female colleagues and their male counterparts to join forces in not only appropriating her budget but interceding on her behalf with other MDAs as long as her agenda tackles issues such as girl child education, rape, violence against women, maternal mortality, gender equity in politics and corporate spaces, child marriage and generating female entrepreneurial opportunities.