(By Gracia Obi)
The executive secretary of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Primary Health Care Development Board, Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed, has commended the active participation of men in the just concluded May 2013 Maternal and Child Health Week programme of the administration.
Mohammed, who made the commendation while carrying out an appraisal of the exercise at the Garki Area 2 Primary Health Care Centre, said it was important for men to support their wives and encourage them to take adequate care of the home and children. He also said one of the ways to do this was by accompanying them to the health centre for such programmes.
He said the programme, which was carried out with support from the Helen Keller Foundation, UNICEF and WHO, was to encourage parents to come to the health centres and avail themselves of all the healthcare interventions the government has provided free-of-charge.
“One of the things we did during the period was health and environmental education for the mothers, personal hygiene and encouraging them to always attend antenatal. We also carried out HIV counseling and testing, we trained monitors and supervisors, who administered the commodities such as Vitamin A, deworming tablets, salt and sugar solution, one month supply of folic acid tablets for mothers and free birth registration,” he explained. He added that the interventions were sent to all FCT healthcare facilities and about 25 private hospitals.
He expressed happiness with the turnout of men who accompanied their wives to the programme, even as he urged them to avail themselves of the family planning intervention, which was also being offered free during the period.
Also speaking, the FCT nutrition coordinator, Mrs. NgoziIkeliani, said, “We gave the children all the immunisations and also examined the pregnant women and gave family planning services. And that’s why we call it ‘a package of care for the family’. Because whatever is required for the adequate growth and development of the family was given, and correct nutritional assessment is being done for the children, to ensure that they are growing health.”
She said that over 200,000 children were offered the service across the FCT, out of a target of about 340,000.
One of the men who accompanied his wife to the health centre, HarunaAliyu, said, “I am here to support my wife. I brought my wife and the kid here and I encourage every man to always do the same because the burden of the home cannot be left for the women all the time.” He urged the government to ensure that such laudable programmes are extended to the rural areas, where they are also most needed.