The Management team of White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria (WRAN) paid the Acting President Osinbajo, a courtesy visit at the State House in Abuja on Friday, June 30, 2017.
During the courtesy visit, the Chairperson of WRAN, Dr. Nanna Chidi-Emmanuel, also pinned a White Ribbon on Osinbajo at his office (Office of the Vice President).
The acting president also signed the Pledge Card to Support and Promote Citizen Engagement and Accountability for Maternal, Newborn Child and Adolescent Health during the event of the meeting.
In Nigeria, a woman’s risk of dying from pregnancy and childbirth is one in 13, and 62% of births take place at home, where women’s lives are at a greater risk. Fear of disrespect and abuse plays a significant role in a woman’s decision to give birth at home.
In 2013, WRAN learned that while there were many cases of disrespect and abuse in health centers across the country, the government was not tracking and addressing the problem.
WRA members agreed that immediate action was needed, and organized town hall meetings to gather testimonies from health workers, citizens and policymakers.
In this process, four major barriers emerged: community members and health workers did not have an understanding of respectful care; there was little recorded evidence of disrespect and abuse in healthcare; there was no policy supporting respectful maternity care (RMC); and many health centers lacked the basic amenities to support RMC.
Until 2014, there was no explicit policy protecting the rights of childbearing women in Nigeria. Therefore, WRA worked to establish a clear national standard of practice for RMC and to embed it into all levels of the health system.
WRA Nigeria’s initial focus was on building support for RMC, so that the National Council on Health would establish RMC as a standard of medical practice. WRA Nigeria convened RMC meetings with policymakers, professional associations, regulatory bodies and civil society organizations. Everyone ultimately agreed to call on the Federal Ministry of Health to officially establish RMC as a standard of practice in Nigeria.
Throughout the campaign, WRA Nigeria worked with the media and key champions to build political pressure for RMC so that the policy would be passed and promoted.