‘Addressing gender mainstreaming important to achieve UHC in Nigeria’


Bauchi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (BASPHCDA), led by its Executive Chairman, Dr Rilwanu Mohammed, emphasized the need to address gender mainstreaming and adolescence in order to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Nigeria.

Dr Rilwanu Mohammed made this assertion during a UNICEF-GAC sustainability meeting held at the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in Bauchi.

He highlighted that gender mainstreaming and adolescence are crucial factors for effective and efficient healthcare delivery, considering that they constitute the largest target audience.

He stated, “For achieving the objectives of UHC, I think we need to mainstream gender in all our activities. That is the essence of the support we received from Global Affairs Canada (GAC) for 2 years. They have been able to mainstream gender into our lives and programs, from the state down to the LGAs, as well as facilities and community levels.”

Dr Rilwanu Mohammed further stated, “We always think about gender in everything we do at the Agency. We need women to carry out some activities to support us. In most of the activities, we are thinking of involving women for effective service delivery, contrary to what used to be that men should do everything.”

He explained that MCH Coordinators and health facility managers at the LGA level were trained to incorporate the gender mainstreaming program. As an example, he mentioned that at the Government House, separate parking spaces were provided for women and physically challenged individuals to support them, which was part of the training.

Regarding Ward Development Committees, he pointed out that 99% of the members were men, excluding women from leadership positions. However, a bill has been sent to the Assembly for passage and assent by the Governor, ensuring that 30% of the committee members will be women. The aim is to use women as advocates to encourage ANC visits during pregnancy and immunization for those who have defaulted.

Dr Rilwanu Mohammed emphasized the importance of gender issues and balance in their activities. For instance, there are 6,440 Mama-to-Mama volunteers in all 20 LGAs, with 20 volunteers per ward. These volunteers are provided with motivation and hijabs to support their work. He stressed the need for sustainability and permanent community structures, even if women move away, to ensure continuity.

He also highlighted the support received for adolescent health, including the establishment of peer groups, with 2,000 of them supported by Global Affairs Canada (GAC). Quarterly meetings will be held at the ward level to improve data collation and facilitate coordination with healthcare facilities.

Dr Rilwanu Mohammed expressed gratitude for GAC’s involvement through an MoU in Bauchi State, providing 300 million Canadian dollars in financial support for four years, along with one year of technical support. Youth-friendly centres have been established across the state to address health issues and provide education to adolescents.

The main objective is to promote and provide quality primary healthcare services, discouraging the use of local herbs, especially by men, and ensuring that people have access to healthcare facilities in the state.


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