The Kano Emirate Council and other stakeholders are working to legislate against early marriage and other harmful family planning practices to address the burden of Vesico-Vaginal Fistula (VVF) and other reproductive health practices.
The Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammadu Sanusi II, made this known at his investiture as the Grand Patron for Women and Children Health in Kano on Monday.
He said religious and traditional institutions should reflect on the challenges women and adolescent girls in Nigeria, especially in the north, where reproductive indicators are not encouraging.
“Women are married in Northern Nigeria at a tender age thereby leading her to lose her life, the child and the indices are there for each state. Some people attribute the death and challenges to God but we know that (God does) not dislike us,’’ he said.
“Why is it that the indices are worst in the north? Why is it that the northern states have high rate of poverty?’’ the monarch queried.
The Emir therefore challenged traditional and religious institutions to embrace the modern family health practices to reverse the burden of these challenges in the region.
According to him, some of the Islamic countries such as Morocco, Malaysia, and Egypt are not having these challenges despite the fact that we have one holy Qur’an as a guide to our life.
He therefore tasked Islamic scholars to adopt the new method widely within the Islamic jurisprudence with a view to enhance the life of the people.
The first class traditional ruler said the committee had already been established and it has the cooperation of the state government to pass its recommendation into law.
Besides, he appealed to the police and courts to ensure that the law is effectively implemented.
He said family law practices that encourage the rights of the women would be addressed in the propped law.
Earlier, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said the poor literacy indicators fuel the high rates of maternal and child deaths and illness in the region.
He added that surveys highlights linkages between the level of education of the mother and her corresponding health behaviour.
Osotimehin said the low retention of girls in school continues to serve as one of the social determinants of poor adolescent health outcomes.
“To change this, there is the need to ensure that girls are able to stay in school and pursue their education, regardless of whether they live in rural or urban areas. This is essential for their well-being and a critical foundation for the health and prosperity of families, communities and nations.’’
He said when girls are able to define their lives and exercise their rights, they not only enjoy better health, but they are able to contribute to national development as economic actors and entrepreneurs.
The executive director said this would ensure that Kano state harnesses its demographic dividend from its largely youthful population.