Each morning, Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, Wife of the President of Nigeria wakes up with a picture of women and children struggling through challenges of hunger and sickness, having to choose between food and medication, sometimes losing both, battling lack of education and harmful cultural practices. More often than not, suffering permanent wounds and scars of these challenges, at other times, succumbing to the cold hands of death.
Each time, she would flash options in her mind, what to do, how to do it, who to do it with – all in a bid to ensure that one more life is saved, one more prospective contributor to national development. Is it easier to give women education or to empower them with self-reliance? How much impact can one make?
She has keyed into the RMNCAH+N Policy, (Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition) through her Future Assured Programme and has already made a lot of impact through advocacy campaigns on breastfeeding, deworming, killer diseases, complementing this with food, nutrition and medicinal aid, calling on government and privileged Nigerians to save more lives of women and children.
At a recent event she organized for the private sector, she spoke on the need for them to embrace RMNCAH+N as their Corporate Social Responsibility and advocated for Innovative partnerships for investment in the sector. She presented a portfolio of areas of support for them to choose from.
Captains of industry attended, listened and keyed in. Most importantly, they understood the precarious lives that women and children go through because of lack of access to essential health services.
Every year in Nigeria, 58,000 women are said to die from pregnancy related complications; from excessive bleeding after child birth, to complications of hypertension in pregnancy, unsafe abortions, infections and obstructed labour. At the event, Mrs.
Buhari stressed that interventions to save the lives of these women are low cost, but of high impact because with only N58,381 it is possible to save one pregnant woman from dying in the process of giving birth to another life. She requested private sector to join her in saving at least 5% of these each year over the next 5 years.