We focus on making MNH a political priority, and we work to ensure that everybody has a role to play in changing the hope of Nigerian families from fatality to survival during pregnancy and childbirth.
One of the strategies that has worked for us is quarterly parley with journalists who are members of the State-led Accountability Mechanisms for Maternal and Newborn Health (SLAM) in the States we work.
The SLAM is made up of sub-committees on Evidence, Advocacy, Knowledge Management and Communication. These committees produce and communicates evidence materials and advocacy briefs to the government and the civil society in order to influence the decision-making for maternal and newborn health interventions.
Our last quarter focused on journalists in Bauchi State. MamaYe has supported the training in investigative journalism on MNH issues for some of them. Our initiative has led not only to the improvement of MNH issues reporting, but also to the increase in the number of MNH issues reports in the media.
We took our work a step further with courtesy calls on heads of the media houses in Bauchi State, whose journalists have been part of MamaYe’s work to improve MNH in Nigeria.
The major lesson learned was that many media organisations are ready and willing to partner with development organisations. However, they need capacity building to produce programmes and materials that are relevant to the MNH cause.
The General Manager of Globe FM in Bauchi, Aminu Tahir Goggo, told us during our visit to his office that our work is important to them as it aims to save the lives of pregnant women and newborns. He said his radio station has been part of numerous activities on MNH reporting to enlighten the public. He solicited technical support to produce evidence-based MNH programmes, as MamaYe prides herself with Nigeria-specific evidence materials to support action for MNH improvement.
From 2015 to 2016, Globe FM contributed immensely to numerous media advocacies by the Bauchi State Accountability Mechanism for Maternal and Newborn Health (BaSAM). The contributions led to Bauchi State’s government allocating more than 15% of her annual budget to health in 2016, and in 2017 also.
The former General Manager of the radio station, Dahir Garba Muhammad, allocated free airtime to the members of BaSAM. BaSAM members had the chance to air their views and hold dialogues with members of the State’s budget appropriation committee on why the State must meet the Abuja Declaration on allocating 15% of its budget to the health sector. The public also had the opportunity to air their opinions on how more funding can improve health care delivery.
Sanni Umar, the News Director for the Bauchi State Television, told the MamaYe team of his willingness to assign producers for the MNH news coverage. Similarly, Peter Oche, the Acting General Manager for the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in Bauchi, said that such partnership as presented by MamaYe is important to improve MNH and he pledged support for improved MNH news coverage.
MamaYe Media Advisor, Olaide Sokunbi, said that journalists have the duty to promote awareness on MNH. He said that MNH too requires similar prioritisation accorded political, sports and entertainment news, as the MNH cause is about saving lives.
MamaYe will consolidate the commitments of the media partners in the effort to making MNH a political priority, while encouraging everyone (not only the media) to take action that can improve maternal and newborn health in Nigeria.