Mrs Hanatu Ababakar is the Maternal and Child Health Coordinator Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BSPCDA) in this interview with ALI GALADMA she talks about benefits of child spacing to communities, advocate for more women roles in politics, office work and early management of insecurity.
As a mother how do feel about the current insecurity situation in Nigeria?
The security situation is too bad. Honestly, we all know that there is issue of insecurity but there are so many things we need to do to take care of all these problems of insecurity issues and you know security is everybody business.
As a mother I am not happy because any time I am going out of the house I think of what may likely happen on my way to the office or while going back home anything can happen. There are issues but is our collective responsibility and if the women are involve we can contribute to the security issue that we can advise, we can also discuss with the people in our communities because a woman at home she knows how to handle this issues at home. For example, if in my area I have this redundant boys, people don’t have work to do they stay idle and they want to leave a positive life, laughvely life if we can get a chance to help we will help this our young ones by engaging them in doing one thing or the other this issues of insecurity would reduce drastically.
Does that means that you are suggesting people should practice family planing and child birth spacing?
Yes, but this children we are having them already. We have them nothing we can do about it, they are already here, the next thing I to look around and see how we can help them engage them to be productive citizens to be responsible citizens.
Child birth spacing is very very important because it would help you space your children, it would help you cater for the ones that you have, both their health, their discipline,their education and whatever you need to do so. Apart from that is also good for the mother is also good for the family, family planning is talking about when you want the pregnancy by choice and not by chance and if you became pregnant by choice it means you really want this pregnancy and you are ready to take care of the pregnancy and you are ready to take care of the baby afterbirth. If a woman is giving that opportunity to play her role as a member of the family not as a dependent because when I say a dependent your perception you just marry her you keep her at home and she folds up her hands, she is looking for the husband to bring in everything, she did contribute because she is not productive but if a woman is productive she can contribute. If the husband collect his salary he will pay school fees and she will take care of other small small issues and if they have a managible size family that is when she she space her family to a few number that they can take care not the number that they don’t have a space to sleep in their house, you have to ask your neighbor please if you have space two or three of my children would go and sleep in your house and that is one of the things that bring about discipline, insecurity and things like that in our society because we delivered so many children that we cannot take care. And you know child birth spacing also improved the health of the mother and if the mother is well the family is well, if the family is well the society is also well.
What are some of the strategies put in place to ensure women get more access to family planning and child spacing?
For us we work with everybody, we engaged the traditional institutions, community leaders, religion leaders and all the stakeholders. We sensitize them on the importance of family planning and the benefits of child spacing. Thank God They appreciate it and they have seen reason in that sensitization and everybody now understood that yes child spacing is important is beneficial to the family, is beneficial to the society. That is how we were able to preached the gospel of child spacing, the husband, the wife, the mother inlaw and everybody is aware of these child spacing is not a new thing. It has been practice long, long time ago. Our grand grand parents practice child spacing how do they do it depends on where you come from when a woman delivered she breast feed for good twenty four months, others abstained from the husband while some go back to her parents house to stay until that child have reach some certain stage that another pregnancy would not affect him, it has been practice in this way we have other things, cultural ways of doing child birth spacing I don’t know now why people think child spacing is bad.
What roles do you thing women can play better especially in area of maternal health and mobility?
As we all know the international women day is been celebrated all over the world not only o. Nigeria and this celebration is a way of reminding every one that women need to be supported women have an important role to play in the society and I you give the woman an equal 0lopportunity or chance to grow she will grow and support her community, her family and the world at large. So international women day is celebrated every year to remind us that yes women every where should be recognised and supported, as we know that the theme for this year women days each for equal that is we want an enable world and equal opportunity women should be given the chance also to give out their contribution to their community, you cannot just deprived a woman opportunity because of she is a woman. What a man can do a woman can equally do that and look if we look around us that women are participating in every thing, if she is determine she can do it and it has play a great roles in our today’s involvement because women are aware now that the need to go out and explore that opportunity that God has giving them, that talent be it physical or whatever they use their brain to mingle with the society whether with the men she can be a managing director, she can be pilot, she can be an engineer, she can be in whatever space a woman can find herself if she is determine she can do it. Woman should be every where whether politics whether economic growth of the country. If they have that opportunity to give out their contribution they will do well in that field so even in the politics they say politics is a game of number but sometimes women are being used during campaign at the end you find out that were not given any position any opportunity to give their contribution for development of their community, state or LGA if they given that opportunity to do so they will do well because woman is a mother, even in animals you can see how mothers care for their children not to talk of human being. A woman can take care of her neighbors take care of her community and any where she find herself she is very supportive
Are you talking of voting, because most women don’t like viying for political positions?
As I have said earlier is not only voting so many times women go out to show their interest via for position the also contest, they also want to give their contribution but at the end you find out that they are been manipulated the mens wants to take it all, they don’t want to give a space to the women they only think that women space is in the kitchen, they only think that is their tune in perception that the women place is at home but is not like that this is only happening in our string here here in Nigeria in most of the northern part of Nigeria women are not being supported. Our religions our cultures doesn’t stop a woman from giving her contribution to her society in whatever capacity. We want equal opportunity the Constitution of Nigeria is saying we should give women 35% of whatever is happening whether is office position, political positions whatever but the 30% is not there look at Assemblies is there fair representation.
Politics is a game of give and take, was there a deal before?
No. That is the constitution of Nigeria and we are working with constitution. The constitution said that 35% affirmative action should be given to women the men always believe they can do it better, she is woman, she should go back to the kitchen, she should be in the other room but what we are advocating now women should be given an opportunity to contribute to the development of their society.