From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
As a part of a deliberate strategy to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies in the state, a Kaduna-based nongovernmental organisation called Gender Awareness Trust (GAT) with support from PathFinder International at the weekend took a sexual and reproductive health campaign to Down Quarters in Kaduna South local government area of the state.
The campaign which was conducted in a town hall within the community has adolescent girls, reproductive-age women, youths, community leaders, religious leaders, traditional leaders, politicians, government functionaries and other prime movers in attendance
Speaking at the sideline of the event, the Executive Director, GAT, Dr. Lydia Umar said the development became necessary to address identified barriers hindering the childbearing age women within the community from accessing sexual and reproductive health services such as family planning methods even when the services are available within their reach.
According to her, “we are here today to conclude the project we started in July. We have carried out about five advocacies beginning with the Sarki of the Angwa, Alhaji Danjuma Musa, and then youths, women, and health workers at the public health care center and then the focus group discussion with women and girls.

“The whole essence was to ensure we identify and remove barriers that are preventing women from getting sexual and reproductive health services at the facilities especially the one they have here.
“Sometimes mothers-in-law and sisters-in-law are the ones preventing women from going for the services like family planning because of their perception that the process will stop them from having children. We have told them that was not correct because family planning is all about women having space between pregnancies in their own interests. We want them to be healthy and alive to take care of their children.
“We are happy that we have been able to secure support from our stakeholders based on the issues highlighted in the advocacy brief document we shared with them so all of us can be on the same page when it comes to improved healthcare needs of mothers”, she said.
Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Down Quarters, Revd Titus Gwamna remarked that the time has come for everyone to support courses that will increase the life expectancy of women of childbearing age in the state.

“We are going to support you in any way we can. We will do that through preaching, teaching and other avenues to ensure our daughters and women are educated on sexual and reproductive health services”, he said.
Also speaking, Imam, Down Quarters, Mallam Muhammad Abdullahi said “I’m in support of this campaign in our community and I want to urge our girls and women who are within the childbearing age to make use of the primary healthcare center within the community.
“I don’t support abortion. So even if you have an unplanned pregnancy, seek help at the health facility instead of going for abortion”.
On his part, Labour Party candidate for Makera Constituency, Kaduna State House of Assembly, Usman Isah thanked the visiting team for bringing the advocacy and sensitisation down to the community.
“We will not forget this. We will tell others that are not here and you can always come back for research in the future”, he remarked.

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Source: news