Improving Access to Childbirth Spacing in Gombe State Includes Advancing Interfaith Collaboration

Jun 30, 2023

Contributed by Uduak Ananaba, Sifonobong Attah, Yakubu Abubakar, Winkle Timothy and Dorcas Akila

Improving Access to Childbirth Spacing in Gombe State Includes Advancing Interfaith Collaboration

Jun 30, 2023

Contributed by Uduak Ananaba, Sifonobong Attah, Yakubu Abubakar, Winkle Timothy and Dorcas Akila

A ward development committee chairperson, health promotion officer and service provider discuss childbirth spacing at Gombe Town PHCC.

Gombe State, Nigeria, has been actively engaged with The Challenge Initiative (TCI) since July 2020. With TCI’s support, the Gombe state government has taken the lead in driving its own health programs, while simultaneously expanding and scaling up family planning (FP) and adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) interventions.

Prior to TCI’s engagement, Gombe State – in collaboration with implementing partner Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN) – learned how to implement 72-hour facility makeovers from its neighbor Bauchi State, which successfully implemented makeovers with TCI support.

Gombe State and PPFN had already conducted makeovers in 75 health facilities before Gombe’s partnership with TCI even began. Once the partnership commenced, TCI held mini-university learning sessions on implementing other TCI interventions. This collaboration led to the co-creation of Gombe’s family planning program (also known as “Childbirth Spacing in Gombe”), which focuses on generating demand for contraceptives and ensuring access to quality family planning services for women of reproductive age, including young persons.

Gombe State recognizes the influential role of religious leaders in addressing barriers that either hinder or promote family planning use, such as spousal discussion and consent, religious leaders speaking on FP and family size preferences. Gombe’s Interfaith Chairman, Alhaji Saleh Danburam, emphasized their commitment, saying:

 We try our best to continue the dissemination of information through mosques, churches, other religious gatherings so that people will be enlightened, particularly the men who sometimes are in control of women because of culture and religion. They have now realized that planning right from the beginning will improve the life of the family.”

Mrs. Tabitha Gideon, a satisfied family planning client in Gombe, echoed the significant role-played by religious leaders. noting:

They (religious leaders) usually say, ‘If you deliver many children and you can’t take care of them, there really is no essence to it.’ And in terms of feeding, education and their health, you will suffer in taking care of them, so go to the facility and they will give you more information about childbirth spacing to help you decide.”

Religious leaders in Gombe actively support the mobilization of individuals interested in childbirth spacing services, working hand-in-hand with community leaders such as ward development committee chairpersons to ensure that referred clients can access services and receive quality care. Platforms such as Quality Improvement Teams (QIT) and ward development committee (WDCs) meetings, provide opportunities for community members to participate and contribute to improving access of family planning services.

Musa Sani Abubukar, a ward development committee chairperson and QIT member at the local Gombe Town Primary Health Care Centers (PHCC) highlighted how the QIT complements the efforts of the State and service providers:

 As a community, we support childbirth spacing by advocating to our community members, organize sensitization and advocating to traditional leaders, community leaders, religious leaders to tell our community members about the importance of childbirth spacing. Birth spacing makes a woman healthy, provides education to the child and supports the household to manage the economy of the family.”

Abubukar continued:

 We support health education in the facility, outreach in the community and ensure that we get one or two of our health education volunteers to support the outreach. Seeing the benefits of childbirth spacing, women and children getting healthier, we are thinking of sustainability. We will sustain the sensitization and awareness on the importance of FP in our community. We see a bright future if our households take up family planning and visit the facility for more information.”

Religious and community leaders in Gombe, like other TCI-supported Nigerian states, continue to leverage their platforms by addressing cultural norms and religious barriers, as well as stimulating demand and demand accountability by public health facility staff to sustain access to quality childbirth spacing services.

Recent News

TCI Helps Punjab’s DOH Revitalize Training Management System to Better Organize Capacity Strengthening Efforts

TCI Helps Punjab’s DOH Revitalize Training Management System to Better Organize Capacity Strengthening Efforts

TCI-Supported Local Governments Spent an Average of 85% of Funds They Committed for Family Planning in 2023

TCI-Supported Local Governments Spent an Average of 85% of Funds They Committed for Family Planning in 2023

TCI’s Francophone West Africa Hub Celebrates Senegal Midwife to Honor World Health Day 2024

TCI’s Francophone West Africa Hub Celebrates Senegal Midwife to Honor World Health Day 2024

Pakistan Religious Scholars Promote Family Planning to Ensure Informed Choices and Enhance Well-being

Pakistan Religious Scholars Promote Family Planning to Ensure Informed Choices and Enhance Well-being

TCI’s Rapid Scale Initiative: A Model for Achieving Sustainable Impact at Scale in Just Two Years

TCI’s Rapid Scale Initiative: A Model for Achieving Sustainable Impact at Scale in Just Two Years