Traditional and religious leaders in the north have been charged to rise in preventing the high rate of maternal and child mortality in the country.
A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) on reproductive health, Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH) gave the charge at a one-day conference held in Sokoto recently for traditional and religious leaders, among other stakeholders.
The conference was organised to woo support of northern traditional rulers in order to reverse the trend of high indices of maternal and child mortality and morbidity in the region.
Participants were also drawn from Katsina, Kebbi, Jigawa and Zamfara states aimed to brain storm on how best to increase acceptance and up take of child spacing as well as child survival services through support of religious and traditional institutions.
It urged government at all levels and other stakeholders to support traditional and religious leaders in promoting sexual, reproductive health and rights among citizenry.
It also asked the traditional institution to advocate for free maternal neo natal and child health services.
According to the communiqué issued at the end of the conference; “the traditional and religious leaders should advocate for increase political commitment and allocation of funds to SRH programmes.
The conference also acknowledged the high maternal and morbidity among mothers, children and hence attributed to social cultural factors, high level of illiteracy and poverty, the health system failure as well as high risk pregnancy rates.
It therefore canvassed the need for legislation backing the participation of religious and traditional leaders in reproductive health activities.
The communiqué was signed by a 13- man member that include the Sultan of Sokoto, Sheikh Mallami Maccido, President/CEO of the Association, Professor O. Ladipo OON, representative of MD Society for Family Health, BoladaleNurat Akin-Kolapo (DCOP ESMPIN), Health Commissioners of Kebbi and Zamfara states, among others.