June 13, 2024
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Mama-to-mama, in Gassol local government area of Taraba state applauds UNICEF, GAVI, and Taraba state government for it’s health initiative in their community.

By: Akanta Hanna

A volunteer women health advocacy group, popularly known as mama-to-mama, in Gassol local government area of Taraba state has applauded UNICEF, GAVI, and Taraba state government for it’s health initiative in their community.

The mama-to-mama group is an initiative of UNICEF supported by GAVI aimed at addressing high rates of avoidable maternal and child mortality, which has been a source of concern over the years.

Speaking to journalists in Mutum Biyu regarding their responsibilities, the impacts of the scheme and challenges they encounter on the job, one of the mama-to-mama agents in Mutum Biyu Ward, Gassol local government, Sumaiya Halilu Aji explained that the group is a collection of community women saddled with the task of promoting positive health- seeking behaviours through advocacy, particularly as it relates to reproduction, maternal, new-born, and child health.

According to her, the mama-to-mama team visits houses in the community and equally takes advantage of every other opportunity to educate women on the dangers associated with not going for antenatal and the benefits attached to regular antenatal visits and full vaccination dose for every child.

She said although some community members at first did not embrace the enlightenment, the impacts of their consistent advocacy and the positive results recorded so far have convinced them of the importance of routine antenatal, delivery at healthcare facilities and vaccination for children.

One of the residents who is a pregnant woman and a beneficiary of the mama-to-mama community sensitization, Amina illiyasu commended the efforts of the group pointing out that she has gained more knowledge and adopted healthy ways of living and caring for her unborn child.

“Mama-to-mama has been of great help to our settlement, especially to pregnant women and nursing mothers. They always encourage us to go for antenatal and visit the hospital anytime we feel any pain.”

Another resident, Zainab Yau, who has been a community midwife for over 50 years, recognised the positive impacts of the mama-to-mama initiative in their community.

“I have been practising local Midwifery for long, and I can confidently say women who give birth at health facilities are better taken care of, and the chances of losing them to the cold hands of death are minimised.” Also, it is obvious that our children who are fully vaccinated are healthier than those who were not vaccinated.”

“May God bless the mama-to-mama team and all those involved in bringing this initiative to Gassol.”

Earlier, Director, Health Department, Primary Healthcare Agency, Gassol local government area, Dan Asabe Addi said since the inception of mama-to-mama in June 2023 they have recorded over 60% decline in maternal and child mortality in their locality which he described as a great achievement.

“Before the creation of the advocacy group, Gassol was identified as a zero dose community which implied that no child had received any vaccination in our community and this led to the deaths of many children but when mama2mama was introduced more than 70% of our children have been vaccinated and many women now visit the health centre for check up.”

While commending every stakeholder for their efforts, he appealed to Taraba state government to extend the period of the mama-to-mama programme in the state, considering its numerous impacts.

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