By Daniel Ezeigwe
As women prepare for this year’s August Meeting, Anambra Governor’s wife, Mrs Nonye Soludo has asked them to discuss fundamental issues affecting family and society.
The governor’s wife who stated this in Awka during the first Anambra Women Health Conference, said that August Meetings should provide important platforms for women to point out peculiar problems that need urgent attention beginning from the ones happening around them.
The event, sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), was designed to train the women so that in return they can take the messages of the day down to their respective meeting venues.
Speaking with the women, Mrs Soludo called attention to rising moral deficits in child raising, depreciation of family values, drug abuse among school children, parental neglects and quest for illicit wealth among youths as key problems that August meetings can address.
The governor’s wife also called for higher awareness on proper family planning among couples, adding that an unplanned home is an impending disaster.
On her healthy living project, Mrs Soludo said she is determined to make right health consciousness a household philosophy in Anambra State, and asked the women to embrace organic and healthy lifestyles, especially with what they consume.
She reassured the women that her husband’s administration remains committed to making vital policies will benefit them, noting that the journey to a better state is a collective one.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Commissioner for Health, Anambra State, Dr Afam Obidike said that the event would help to raise awareness on common diseases that affect women, and how the women in attendance can carry the lessons down to the community levels during the August meetings for the benefit of other women.
The guest speaker, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Brian Adinma while discussing common issues in reproductive health, explained that 70% of reproductive health problems could be attributed to three factors which could originate from male or female reproductive systems.
He urged pregnant women to always priortize good antenatal care, use approved maternity homes and skilled birth attendants, and make adequate birth plan beginning from the first day of pregnancy.
Professor Adinma also commended the state government for investing in primary health care delivery, disclosing that Anambra State has one of the least records of maternal mortality in Nigeria.
Another speaker, Dr Chioma Mbachu who talked about breastfeeding, noted that human milk composition has 90% water, while the remaining ten percent contain vitamins, proteins and antibodies that boost a child’s overall health.
Dr Mbachu also urged pregnant mothers to practice exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months and then complementary feeds for at least two years, explaining that breast milk contains everything in the right quantity and that children who have been exclusively breastfed builds higher IQs and have less sicknesses.
The chairman of Medical Women Association of Nigeria, Anambra State chapter, Dr Amaka Onubogu while teaching about breast self-examination, said that it is important for women beginning from the age of twenty to check their breast at least once in a month, regretting that deaths due to breast related ailments have continued to rise largely because of neglect.
She stated that breast cancer is treatable if detected early, and said that women in their reproductive age should self-check their breasts five to seven days after menstruation, while women in their menopause can choose a particular day to check theirs.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA), Dr Simeon Onyemaechi, said that access to health insurance has made health services easier in Anambra State, with the agency’s coverage for treatment now expanded across over 300 health facilities in the state.
Others who made presentations at the event include the representative of WHO, Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Anambra State, the Executive Secretary of Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (ASPHCDA), Pharmacist Chisom Uchem.