The international medical aid group, Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF), kicked off a three-day workshop on Monday, Oct. 23 in Nigeria’s federal capital territory, Abuja, on ‘Reducing Maternal Morbidity and Mortality in Jigawa State, Northwest Nigeria.’
The event brought together major stakeholders in the room to dissect the impact the 15-year Jahun project has had in Jigawa state, and to draw a roadmap on the way forward.
Over 60 representatives from MSF, the Jigawa state, and federal government officials, as well as members of other humanitarian organisations, were in attendance to brainstorm ways to expand access to healthcare and improve maternal and neonatal outcomes in the state.
During one of the sessions, Dr Muhammad Abdullahi Kainuwa, the Jigawa state Commissioner of Health, highlighted how limited resources had put a great strain on the quality of healthcare, stating that a health budget of upto ₦75 million allocated in the state per month still isn’t enough to cover the needs of the state.
“We have to look at how the funds are being used in line with policies and frameworks put in place to prevent wastage and to ensure it is spent accordingly. The money is to be used judiciously and appropriately,” he said.
He also mentioned limited human resources, in terms of qualified medical personnel on the ground in rural areas.
“The burden of diseases is mostly in the rural areas. 70 per cent of Jigawa state are living in rural areas. More needs to be done, such as sending more medical staff to rural areas with improvement of welfare, pay and living situations. We need to find how to retain qualified medical staff to remain in the rural areas,” Dr Kainuwa added.
The panellists during the sessions included the Jigawa state Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Hadiza T Abdulwahab and Dr. Kabiru Ibrahim, the Executive Secretary of PHCDA at the State Ministry of Health.
Dr Simba Tirimba, MSF’s Country Representative, expressed that he believed Nigeria was capable of taking leadership of the Jahun Project.
According to MSF, the organisation kicked off the project as a fistula repair project – a complication that arises from obstructed labout but which is preventable – at the Jahun General Hospital in 2008. The project later metamorphosed and expanded into managing medical activities in the hospital, providing medical services including emergency obstetrics, newborn care, vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) care and rehabilitation, and most recently, sexual violence in partnership with the Jigawa State Ministry of Health
From January to June, the MSF team provided 19,894 women with ante-natal care, recorded 143 vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) patient admissions and conducted 162 VVF surgeries.
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