Media Practitioner Becomes Childbirth Spacing Advocate in Plateau State, Nigeria
Contributor: Philemon Yohanna
Jamilu Abdullahi is a 34-year-old man living in Angwan Rogo, a densely populated Hausa area of Jos North LGA in Plateau State, Nigeria. He works as a content developer for Unity FM, a predominantly Hausa radio and TV station in Plateau State. Jamilu recently became a member of the Plateau State Social and Behavioral Change Communication Technical Working Group (SBCC TWG), an effort supported by The Challenge Initiative (TCI).
Prior to his involvement with the SBCC TWG, Jamilu frowned upon childbirth spacing (CBS) discussions and considered it bad for women to practice CBS. While on assignment covering the health beat for his station, Jamilu says his notions changed completely following an encounter with the SBCC TWG.
I was shocked by what I learned about childbirth spacing and its benefits. From that day, I made a commitment to join the movement and I began to orient my community members and the public on the benefits of childbirth spacing. I shared what I learned with my wife and she took up a method. I have become a living testimony and I can easily reference my wife when addressing other people on the benefits of childbirth spacing.”
After that first encounter, Jamilu began attending TWG meetings and eventually became a member of the group. He shared:
I gained more knowledge when I became a member of the group. It gave me the right tools, messaging as well as insight to dispel myths and misconceptions, which cause the spread of incorrect information on childbirth spacing. I even give religious backings to childbirth spacing messaging as contained in the Islamic perspective, enabling me to convince more persons that using a method is not “haram” as they have been made to believe.”
Jamilu now speaks at mosques, schools and community associations to enlighten more men and women. During the COVID-19 lockdown in the state, Jamilu leveraged his media platform to create radio and TV programs to spur discussion around childbirth spacing since physical meetings were prohibited. He has anchored over 10 radio and TV programs and produced news related to childbirth spacing and its benefits.
Jamilu says he is motivated to continue his CBS advocacy because he wholeheartedly believes lives are being saved through his efforts.