From Femi Oyelola Kaduna
Some women of Gimba community in Soba Local Government Area of Kaduna State have blamed the high rate of malnutrition in the community on lack of adequate care from their husbands.
They stated this during a Town Hall meeting in the community on demand creation for nutritional health services organized by save the Children International (SCI)
The women said that their husbands abandoned them the moment they became pregnant with no support, particularly in providing adequate nutritious food needed for healthy pregnancy.
One of them, Mrs Rahinatu Yakubu, particularly said that husbands should be held responsible for the disturbing number of malnourished children in the community.
She explained that it was the responsibility of husbands to care and feed their family, but that on the contrary, the men become indifferent the moment their wives become pregnant with no form of care.
She said attention should be focused on husbands to live up to their responsibilities by caring for their wives and providing the food needed for healthy pregnancy and development of the baby.
“Malnutrition in our community begins right from the womb because our women do not get to eat well due to lack of care from the men.
“When it is time to deliver, we give birth to a malnourished child and the hospital become our second home in search of treatment.”
Another woman, Mrs Fatima Sule, said that all their husbands care about was marrying additional wives whenever they get little money.
“They have family that they don’t take good care of, but interested in marrying more wives and getting them pregnant only to abandon them also when they become pregnant.
“The moment you tell your husband that you are pregnant everything change in the house. He becomes unnecessarily angry all the time to prevent you from asking for money for food, “she said.
She also called on relevant stakeholders to talk to their men on the need to care and support their wives, pregnant or not, “it is their duty.”
The women equally appealed to government and other stakeholders to provide more drugs, beds and other facilities in the community’s health centre, adding that the facility was grossly understaffed.
Malam Musa Isah, the Nutrition Focal Person in the LGA, confirmed the high incident of malnutrition in the local government.
According to him, the number of malnourished children in the records of most health centres in the LGA doubled and in some cases tripled every week.
One of the community member, Malam Mohammed Hassan acknowledged that some of the men do not take proper care of their pregnant wives.
Hassan, said that due to poverty, not all men can afford to provide their wives fish, eggs or meat during pregnancy, but could however provide vegetables.
Malam Isah Ibrahim, Nutrition Advocacy Adviser with SCI explained that failure to properly feed pregnant women and adequate infant and young child feeding practices were the major causes of malnutrition among children under five years.
Ibrahim encouraged the women to embrace exclusive breastfeeding and provide adequate complementary feeding after the first six months.
He called on the husbands to support their wives by providing the necessary nutritious food to their pregnant wives for healthy pregnancy, delivery and uninterrupted development of a child.
He explained that the meeting was organised to discuss and share experiences on issues around nutrition and other health related matters affecting children and women.
According to him, the goal is to enlighten caregivers on the need to demand for nutritional and other health services at health centres to ensure uninterrupted development of children.
The chairman of the LGA, Malam Mohammed Aliyu, represented by his Vice, Malam Abdullahi Mohammed thanked the NGO for the support and promised to look into the concerns raised by the women, particularly in respect to quality services at the health centre.
Mothers and caregivers, including traditional and religious leaders at the meeting were sensitised on good hygiene practices and the importance of antenatal and post natal care.