Religious And Traditional Leaders Urge To Promote Health Related Issues At The Grassroots In Bauchi State

In a bid to achieve greater result in its advocacy towards positive health behaviours in Bauchi State, the USAID Breakthrough Action-Nigeria, has organised a one-day symposium to religious and traditional leaders from across the 20 Local Government Areas of Bauchi State on the concept of Justice and Fairness.

Objectives of the symposium include bringing together a diverse group of religious and traditional leaders and other stakeholders to deliberate on the role of men in child spacing, women’s decision making in health, enhancing spousal communication and prevention of gender based violence from religious and cultural perspectives.

Others are, exploring contextual social and gender norms that act as barriers of the 17 priority behaviours in the justice and fairness context, as well as identifying the roles of religious, traditional and other opinion leaders in promoting the practice of the 17 behaviours in the communities.

Giving an overview of Breakthrough Action Nigeria and the project, the Bauchi State Coordinator, Breakthrough Action, Nigeria, Usman Muhammed Inuwa, explained that the organization is a United States Agency for International Development funded health intervention project in Nigeria.

Usman Muhammad Inuwa, said that, their six-year project is geared towards improving the adoption of priority behaviours across maternal newborn and child health including nutrition and Malaria.

“BA-N focuses on social change at the community level and also supports the State to build the capacity of various community structures such as the community leaders, women groups, village and ward development committees(WDC’s) to recognize and identify their health needs and to collectively demand appropriate and quality health services” He said.

“BA-N also supports the state to empower communities to mobilize resources and increase community ownership and sustainability by developing systems to ensure community involvement and participation” he added.

He therefore expressed optimism that the committee will be up and doing in mobilizing and sensitizing people against myths and misconceptions regarding some health issues.

Usman however said Breakthrough Action Nigeria’s solutions include bringing together community leaders, religious leaders, and women’s groups to develop an innovative campaign to support the adoption of healthy behaviors among communities in Nigeria.

Highlights of the event were different paper presentations on Gender Based Violence-effects on family and community wellbeing, women’s decision-making in health, enhancing spousal communication for improved family health, the role of men in childbirth spacing and family health as well as Covid-19.

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