Hajiya Hadiza M.A. Abubakar (right), wife of the Bauchi State Governor and family planning champion.

In Bauchi State, Nigeria, The Challenge Initiative has identified three influential family planning champions, including the wife of Bauchi State’s Governor, Hajiya Hadiza M.A. Abubakar; the wife of Bauchi State’s Deputy Governor, Hajiya Fatima Nuhu Gidado; and a member of the Bauchi State House Committee on Health, Alhaji Adamu Bello. All three pledged to use their platforms to secure support for family planning and child birth spacing.

Bauchi state organized a Visioning Exercise and SMART Advocacy Strategy workshop on child birth spacing from March 14 to March 20. Participants discussed implementing a “business unusual” child birth spacing model with support from the Initiative.

Dr Zuwaira Hassan Ibrahim, Bauchi’s Commissioner of Health, said “Child birth spacing is everybody’s business, so all hands must on deck to ensure that we save the lives of our women in the state.” Like many other Nigerian states, Bauchi grapples with maternal mortality and high parity – the average number of births is about 8 children per woman (NDHS 2013).

An Advocacy Working Group will also work for favorable policy action and urge the government to create an enabling environment and release funds for child birth spacing activities in the state.