Sokoto State Deputy Governor Inaugurates Child Spacing Advocacy Working Group
April 21, 2017
By Bello Bissalla, Knowledge Management & Communication Advisor, HP+ Nigeria
Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu Sokoto, the deputy governor of Sokoto State, inaugurated the Sokoto State Child Spacing Advocacy Working Group on Tuesday, April 18, 2017.
The Sokoto State Child Spacing Advocacy Working Group (AWG) is an initiative of the USAID-funded Health Policy Plus (HP+) project in Nigeria. It is expected to create a platform for stakeholders in Sokoto State to engage with policymakers to promote improved policies and funding for maternal and child health and child spacing.
Deputy governor Alhaji Ahmad Aliyu Sokoto represented the state’s governor in inaugurating the group. He pledged the full commitment of the state to improving health outcomes, especially in child and maternal health, and to working with the State Child Spacing AWG to ensure that child spacing programs receive necessary government support.
The honorable commissioner for health, Shehu Balarabe Kakale, delivered opening remarks, emphasizing the need to address high maternal and child mortality in the state through well-thought out interventions, both at the policy level and in the community.
Aminu Abdallah Sufi, the chairman of the Sokoto State Child Spacing AWG, called on stakeholders—particularly religious leaders—to follow the tenets of the Hadith as they relate to child rights in the family, adding that it is unacceptable for a woman to lose her life while giving birth or for a child to lose his/her life during infancy. Planned child bearing promotes healthier and happier families, he stressed.
HP+ Nigeria country director Onoriode Ezire presented an overview of HP+ to the gathering, adding that the AWG is a platform for collaboration between advocates and key public sector decision-makers to promote better governance and accountability, particularly in the context of achieving the state’s development objectives.
A total of 22 child spacing advocates—including traditional leaders, religious leaders, members of civil society, advocates, academics, representatives of faith-based organizations, and the media—were inaugurated as members of the Sokoto State Child Spacing AWG.
Other stakeholders at the inauguration included the honorable commissioner for women affairs, Hajiya Kulu Abdullahi Sifawa; the vice chairman for the Sokoto State House of Assembly Committee on Health, Abdullahi Zakari; the chairman of the Sokoto State House of Assembly Committee on
Women Affairs, Sani Yakubu; the chairman of the Sokoto State House of Assembly Committee on Youth Matters, Ibrahim Mohammed Gidado; the executive secretary of SPHCDA, represented by the director of community health, Mohammed Maccide; and the representatives of the Sultanate Council, Alhaji Muhammdu Bello Abuabakar, Ubandoman Hamma Ali, sheikhs Sani Kwani and Alh Sani Umar Gagi, and Sarkin Yakin Gagi.[FB1]
The inauguration of the Child Spacing AWG will be followed by a five-day capacity building workshop on advocacy, accountability, and health financing, organized by HP+.