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Our pregnant women are facing danger, Kaduna community cries out

They said that the community of about 5, 000 people has recorded series of still birth and lost pregnancies due to difficulties in accessing good health care.

Some of the residents told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday that they would also need more sensitisation on nutrition especially for pregnant mothers and children.

One of the residents, Mrs  Jummai Maliki noted that the absence of  antenatal services in the area was also compounded by the poor literacy level of the people.

According to her, she has no knowledge on nutrition and how it affects pregnancies.

“I eat anything that comes my way when I am pregnant, I don’t know that someone needs balance diet during pregnancy as we do not have people who will educate us about the importance of nutrition to pregnancy,’’ she said.

She also said that the bad road leading to the community was a major challenge, as the nearest clinic to the community is 24 kilometers away and “only offers skeletal services.’’

Another resident, Mrs Mary Waziri said she was made to understand that she lost her first pregnancy due to poor nutrition.

“I was not feeding well and was short of blood and I didn’t attend antenatal due to the distance between us and the available health facility,” she said.

The residents urged the state and local governments to come to their aid, by repairing the road and constructing a clinic in the community.

NAN reports that the Kaduna State Government had in 2015, promised to upgrade 255 Primary Health Centres across the state.

However, it is not clear how many of that number had been upgraded so far.

Meanwhile, a gynaecologist, Dr Nuhu Yusuf of Crest Hospital Kaduna, said optimal maternal nutrition is important to the survival of both mother and child.

“Women need antenatal care as it promotes women’s overall health as well as productivity.

“Maintaining a healthy balance diet is important for optimal health throughout one’s life.”

According to him, for women of childbearing ages, good nutrition is important in preparing the body for the demands of pregnancy.

“Current evidence shows that there are two critical pathways through which women’s nutrition affects survival outcomes: anaemia and calcium deficiency.’’

Yusuf said inadequate or excessive amount of some nutrients, may also cause malformations or medical problems in the foetus.

“While neurological disorders and handicaps are a risk that is run by mothers who are malnourished,” he added.

He said scaling up high impact nutrition interventions would prevent maternal and child deaths.

According to the gynaecologist, optimal maternal and child nutrition in the first 1,000 days helps ensure healthy mothers and newborns as well as good growth and development for infants and children.

“It also decreases vulnerability to infectious diseases and the negative cycle of disease and under nutrition that leads to child death.”

He further explained that while nutritional supplements can provide large quantities of particular micro-nutrients, a healthy balanced diet should form the basis of a woman’s nutritional intake.

“Good nutrition is most important immediately, prior to conception and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, including the very early stages, when the woman is unaware she is pregnant.”

He therefore stressed the need for women to maintain a healthy diet throughout their childbearing years, particularly, if they are planning to become pregnant.

Benjamin Maigari of Reproductive Health Advocacy Network, said the organization is working on a project `Save the Children Donor’ targeted at promoting nutrition for children under five and pregnant women.

Maigari said the organization gives out food supplement support to less privileged children and also engages pregnant women and mothers’  on how to increase breast milk using Soya  beans.

He said the organisation had offered such services in two local government areas of the state and would extend similar support to more communities including Kankomi. (NAN)

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