By: Joy Odor/Kaduna
The Co-ordinator, Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF), Mrs. Sekyen Dadik has said that maternal mortality still remains high in Nigeria, the North part of Nigeria contributing the greatest share.
She stated this during her opening speech at the 2017 MediaAfrica Conference with the theme: “MNCH in Nigeria: Progress, Opportunities and Challenges: Role of the Media in Curbing Maternal Death held in Kaduna, North-West, Nigeria on Tuesday.
Mrs. Sekyen Dadik noted that the National Demographic Survey (DHS) 2013 pegs the national figure of maternal death at 576 deaths per 100,000 live births but added that the trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2015 as conducted by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division had suggested a figure as high as 814 deaths per 100,000 live births.
According to her, this is alarming, and calls for all hands to be on deck to overcome the challenge, Nigeria, especially Northern States must change their approach.
She mentioned that one potent tool to carry the campaign is the media which has proven to be successful in many campaigns through policy advocacy and social mobilization, because the media has the ability to influence and cause change in individual’s behavior and lifestyle, as well as mobilizing communities for positive action.
The Co-ordinator said this is aimed at awakening the consciousness of media practitioners to deeply understand their role in reducing maternal death rate, especially in northern Nigeria, as well as help partners and government on media engagement strategies for effective result.
Mrs. Sekyen Dadik therefore recommended an active engagement of the media by development partners, civil society organizations and professional organizations, as against inviting them to cover events and other publicity seeking activities.
She was of the opinion that engagement should be towards exposing and building capacity of the journalists to do stories that are issue driven and work towards contributing to development goals.
“It’s our desire that this conference will go beyond rhetoric to birth action plans that will be duly followed and will be evident in an improved maternal health and significant reduction in maternal and child mortality.
“As a brief introduction of AMDF to those meeting us for the first time, Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) is a non-governmental, non-political and non-profit media development organization that strengthens media system, and provides professional support to Journalists, Media Organizations, CSOs.
“AMDF is passionate in promoting Development Journalism and Investigative Reporting among-st Nigerian Journalists, and has trained and supported Journalists in Kaduna North West and Gombe North East Nigeria on development and investigative journalism and to step up the capacity of Journalists in engaging the Social Media for news production and dissemination.
“AMDF understands the importance of media in promoting development agenda like maternal and child health, but we are also aware that a wide gap exists in how knowledgeable journalists are on the subject matter, as well as in advocacy, especially in northern Nigeria.
“You are welcome to the second Annual Media Conference tagged MediaAfrica. “MediaAfrica at a broader level seeks to explore the place of media in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals as outlined by the United Nations” she ended.