By Amauche Agbo, Abakaliki
Breakthrough Action Nigeria (BA-N) with the support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has enjoined Ebonyi women to reinforce their efforts in ensuring that they visit healthcare facilities for Antenatal Care (ANC) services at least four or eight times before delivery.
The women under the umbrella of “Ebonyi Women empowerment group”, received the message during their maiden August meeting at Ekpelu community in the Ikwo local government Area of the state with the support of Breakthrough Action Nigeria, BA-N.
According to BA-N Nutrition Focal Person, Mr Clinton Oforegbu, the body is supporting the women because they have adopted several priority health behaviours including family planning, immunization, ANC visit, and delivery at the health facilities with skilled birth attendants.
“Breakthrough Action is here to support the women empowerment group in their quest to ensure that all the groups they have formed here, come together and familiarized themselves with one another.
“The women’s organization is a group where women come together every week to discuss health issues that border around maternal, new child born health and nutrition.
“Also, these women contribute weekly micro-loans and savings where they contribute money and after some time, they collect loans from the money they contributed and begin a business or add to their already existing business or in case of any health challenges they have access to funding to take care of those health issues that may arise in their family,” he said.
Oforegbu however, urged the women to stand strong and keep strengthening the groups and see that more women in their community join them. According to him, their unity will serve as a linkage structure to other community structures where women’s voices can be heard in the area.
“The women should ensure they deliver with a skilled birth attendant, ensure their children get immunization and ensure that they practice family planning for at least 2 years after delivery before giving birth to another,” he stated.
He further urged the women to be sleeping inside a treated mosquito net and also help to promote optimum health and nutrition for the general well-being of the public.
Also, the Gender Desk Officer Ministry of Health, Mrs Ngozi Roland Chukwuma who extolled the women for contributing their quotas towards the good of the general populace, said the importance of the group cannot be overemphasized.
She then urged the women to report any kind of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence meted out on them and the girls including domestic commotion, sexual riot, and physical trouble among others for quick intervention and treatment.
The women including Mrs Ezza Grace, Mrs Ogodo Mercy and Mrs Nworie Salome, commended BA-N for their advocacy visit which exposed them to the health benefits attached to visiting the hospital for delivery.
“We thank Breakthrough Action Nigeria, this group also champions the course of educating the members on the need to tackle health-related challenges and we are urging our women to step up their efforts towards making the organization stronger and viable as it would help us in improving our means of livelihood,” Mrs Ezza said.