Kaltungo town in the Kaltungo Local Government Area of Gombe State recently welcomed the MamaYe-Evidence4Action movement calling for the improvement of maternal and newborn health.
In July 2017, MamaYe launched in Gombe State. We supported and worked with the Gombe State Accountability Mechanism for Maternal and Newborn Health (GoSAM) to develop scorecards to measure the performance of the State’s health apparatus in maternal and newborn health (MNH) and health budget.
GoSAM looks at MNH indicators such as the percentage of antenatal/postnatal care attendance, family planning, etc, and health budget indicators such as transparency, budget release and so on. On the other hand, the super activists, who are a group of MNH activists trained and supported by MamaYe, take charge of rallying their community members to participate in individual and group actions to improve MNH. Their actions include organising voluntary blood donation, encouraging pregnant women, helping them to attend antenatal care and health facilities with a trained birth attendant to safely deliver their babies.
Kaltungo Local Government is one of the areas in Gombe State where many individuals have contributed in one way or another to help improve MNH. These individuals are motivated and trained to contribute to maternal and newborn survival.
Maternal mortality ratio in Gombe State is at 1002 deaths per 100,000 live births (Gombe State Strategic Health Development Plan 2015-2016, pg 8). In this light, the MamaYe Campaign Lead, Fola Richie-Adewusi, encouraged the Kaltungo community to start taking action on MNH. Fola encouraged the audience to stop resigning to fate and to start taking action on MNH, as many maternal and newborn deaths are preventable.
There is an urgent need to support MamaYe-Evidence4Action to reach out to communities who are yet to be sensitised on maternal and newborn deaths so as to reduce the rate at which pregnant women and newborns lose their lives.
While calling on the community people to volunteer and become super activists for MNH intervention, Fola said that simple tasks such as donating blood, encouraging other to donate blood, encouraging pregnant women to attend antenatal care and a health facility for their baby delivery are small actions that anyone could take in order to improve the health of pregnant women and newborns.
Gombe State Health Commissioner, Dr Kennedy Ishaya was represented by Dr James Mahdi, the Director of the Hospital Services for the Gombe State Ministry of Health. In his opening remarks, Dr Ishaya said that MamaYe’s evidence-based intervention is helping the State in some of the activities that the government would not have been able to handle alone. He encouraged the audience to participate as super activists so that the State integrates MamaYe’s approach for the improvement of maternal and newborn health in the State.
Garus Sarki Mentor, Deputy Director of Public Health Care in Kaltungo emphasised the importance of coming together to help one another survive. To set an example, he volunteered to become a super activist in order to encourage more people to participate. He did this after citing examples of how simple involvement in the affairs of pregnant women have helped save their lives.
Improving MNH in Kaltungo was even more important as the Mai Kaltungo (the traditional ruler of the Kaltungo town), Engineer Saleh Muhammed had already set precedence with numerous actions. The Mai would visit hard to reach areas, some times on foot, to personally experience the condition of his people. He converted one of the palace offices to a clinic so that pregnant women and newborns may access care and he led and inquiry into the deaths of pregnant women and newborns.
Many attendees got inspired by the Mai's and super activists' achievements and signed up to become part of those who are taking selfless actions to help pregnant women and newborns survive.