By Stella Kabruk
As the World marks the International Day for Rural Women, women in Kaduna State have asked for improved access to maternal health.
Some of the women made the call in interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna and Kafanchan on Saturday .
They said the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration needed to do more in terms of women health to reduce maternal mortality,
Mrs Christina Musa, a health worker, called for additional health care centres in rural areas to enable low income earners to access health care services .
” Women, especially at the rural areas, are most disadvantaged during economic recession.
“Our women would go all the way to ensure the family is fed and secured from health hazards yet little or no attention is given to those in the interior villages,” she said
Mrs Martha Dogo said a lot was still desired in the area of maternal care, adding: “most of our women in rural areas still die of pregnancy related complications.’’
She said the government should improve access roads for women in rural areas to attend ante-natal care as many walked long distances to get health services.
” I want the government to do something about our roads in the rural areas because some of our women suffer a lot before getting to health facilities.
“Some do trek 30 kilometres or more before accessing health facilities and because of these, most women in the rural areas prefer the traditional birth attendant,’’ she said.
Mrs Jamila Musa also said the government should improve emergency response to rural women by posting more doctors to rural areas.
” We in the rural areas only have primary health centres and when it comes to emergency, there is no doctor that can attend to us and these also contribute to women’s death.
” A woman can be in labour and need to be operated we have to travel again to the urban or semi urban areas before she will be attended to,’’ Musa said.
She added that rural women needed the cost of caesarian operations reduced for the women.
” We at the rural areas barely eat three square meals because of hardship,.
‘’When a women is pregnant and needs to be operated upon, the money charged is much that we hardly pay; so I am appealing to the government to consider us and subsidise the rate for us,’’ she said.
Musa added that the free treatment for pregnant women should be improved as only few drugs were given.
“I am appealing again that the free drugs for pregnant women should be improved because as it is now, I don’t think it is free we buy drugs in the health facilities.’’
According to her, government should provide free family planning for women in the rural areas.
The women also urged government to step up women representation in governance.
They said the Buhari-led administration needed to do more in terms of women holding public positions.
Mrs Martha Akawu, Leader of Progressive Women Group in Kasit area of Kafanchan, said rural women had little or no representation at the federal level and as such, activities concerning rural women were relegated to the background.
“Little is being said about empowering rural women in the present administration reason being that only a handful whose voices are never heard are represented at the helm of affairs,” she said.
Mrs Angela Dogo, a politician urged the government to revisit the previous government’s 35 per cent women representation in government.
Mrs Sarah Haruna, a teacher, urged the government to urgently initiate programmes for women to run Small and Medium Scale businesses to make them self-reliant.