Thursday, March 17, 2011

Celebrating International Women’s Day & Improving Maternal Health in Nigeria

Last week I had the rare opportunity of co-hosting a dinner to celebrate women as part of the Global Dinner Party to celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. The dinner was organized by the Nigeria Health Campaign of the White Ribbon Alliance in Nigeria in partnership with Save the Children Nigeria. Our focus was to enlighten the media about commitments made by Nigeria’s government in support of the UN Secretary General’s Global Strategy for Women's and Children’s Health.

At the event, we shared copies of the Atlas of Birth flyer that highlights the commitments that were made, and we also called on everyone to support the National Health Bill. The film "Tracking Commitments for Child Health" from Save the Children was also presented at the meeting. At the end we all agreed to the following:

1.Strengthen the existing Network of Health Correspondents through capacity building on maternal, newborn and child health reporting

2.Work together in a collaborative manner by recognizing media as a partner for development

3.Strengthen advocacy to National and State Houses of Assembly

4.Embark on advocacy visits to heads of media organizations to address identified bottlenecks for the health correspondents

In attendance were: the Country Representative of UNFPA, Dr. Agathe Lawson; The British High Commissioner to Nigeria represented by the DFID Country Advisor, Jane Miller; Secretary of the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Lucy Chindaba; President of International Federation of Women Lawyers, Ezinwa Okoroafor; USAID MNCH Program Manager, Dr. Folake Olayinka, and representatives of over 20 media houses.

There was excitement on the faces of all the participants as Save the Children presented the EVERYONE cake dedicated to the women of the world. Being one of the Women Deliver 100 Young Leaders and also a program assistant at the WRA Nigeria Office, I was invited to co-host the dinner to celebrate WOMEN. I used the opportunity to call for more involvement of young people in maternal health advocacy especially young women in Nigeria, and the signing of the Nigerian Health Bill to safe guard the future of young women in Nigeria.  I am very proud to be a woman, a Women Deliver 100 Young Leader, and a Nigerian.

Esther, in action, at the Women Deliver 2010 youth pre-conference below:

Women Deliver is a global advocacy organization bringing together voices from around the world to call for action against maternal death.

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