Nigeria maternal deaths comparable to crashing airplane with 120 passengers daily- Ooni
…Urges government to invest more in women’s health
…Senate blasts FG for failing to release approved budget
Marcus Fatunmole (Abuja)
Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Adeyeye Eniitan Ogunwusi, on Monday compared losses which deaths of mother caused Nigeria daily with crash of airplane carrying 120 passengers daily.
Ooni told a stunned gathering of eminent citizens and other health experts at the 5th Annual Family Planning Consultative Stakeholders meeting in Abuja, that the reason the nation does not mourn daily is because deaths of mothers occur in small numbers across communities in the country, and they don’t make the kind of disheartening news made by aircraft crashes.
At the three-day meeting where new multi-media communication plan and logo for family planning/child spacing, developed by the Federal Government to help change behavioural pattern of Nigerians to family planning services were launched, Ooni said it was high time tiers of government in the country made needed investments to improve the health of women and girls.
“This initiative is something that I am very passionate about; child spacing, family planning. We only talk about it; we are just scratching the surface. It is something that is deeper than that. I repeat it is something that we should take very seriously in our country. Just imagine this practical illustration. We don’t pray for disaster. You can imagine if we have a plane crash and we have 120 future leaders inside that plane crash. That is a national disaster. The entire country will be thrown into a state of mourning. That will be the discussion for at least one week. Various offices, everywhere; that is what people will be talking about.
There is no difference between what we are here today (talking about) and that same national disaster that I just compared. The only difference is material loss of aircraft. But, we have loss of human beings. You can imagine losing 110 women on daily basis in this country. You can imagine having statistics of maybe those children coming to this world innocently will make it. You can imagine that national disaster on daily basis. The reason we are not feeling it is that one will happen in Sokoto, another one will happen in Kafanchan, one will happen in Osun, one will happen in Lagos. It is being spread across the country. It is not being put together the way that national disaster I’ve just compared will be. It is very important for us to take this thing very seriously.”
He went on: “It is something we should avoid because it is avoidable. It is very avoidable. We all have to take it very serious…population growth for any nation is an asset, if it is well planned, if it is well channeled. But, if it is not well planned, it will become a liability. I am imploring the Federal Government of this country and all the state government officials and even governors to pay more attention to this national disaster.
“Is it because we are not reading it from headlines of newspapers on daily basis? It is something we should be mourning about on daily basis. We are losing lives, we are losing innocent souls. It is just for us to continue to sensitize the youths, girls between the age of 18 and 25. It happens mostly between that age bracket. I am imploring every one of us; we can play a very pivotal role in this.
“Meanwhile, Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, lambasted Federal Government for failing to release approve funds for health programmes in the country, including payment of workers.
“He said without release of such funds, much success should not be expected. He accused Federal Government of doing what it likes rather than what the nation’s laws specify.
“His words: “Unfortunately, one of the major problems, not only family planning, of our implementation in Nigeria today is the inability of the government is to release whatever is appropriated. There is no point fo