The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Is-haq Oloyede, has called for proper education on parenting to improve maternal health in Nigeria.
Mr Oloyede, a professor of Islamic Studies, is also the Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
In a lecture delivered at the ongoing annual National Health Dialogue in Abuja on Tuesday. he said the role of religious leaders on maternal reproductive and child health cannot be overemphasised.
The two day event themed “Universal Health Coverage – The role of State and Non-State Actors in Healthcare funding and support”, is organized by PREMIUM TIMES in partnership with the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), the Project for Advocacy in Child and Family Health, PACFaH@Scale, the Project Pink Blue and the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF)
Those in attendance include health practitioners and advocates, as well as political, religious and traditional leaders.
Mr Oloyede said a way of assisting in maternal healthcare is to properly educate parents on their responsibilities to the child.
He said religious leaders have a major role to play in the creation of awareness and establishment of facilities that will aid maternal and childcare.
“Whatever campaign that must be on maternal health care should be championed by religious leaders because of the confidence their followers have in them.
“They must educate parents on the rights of the child and their responsibility towards the development of a well-balanced child,” he said.
He quoted Prophet Mohammed as saying “Each of you is a guardian and is responsible for his ward. The ruler is a guardian and the man is a guardian for members of the household.
“Woman is a guardian that is responsible for her husband’s household. As such, the parents are also responsible for the outcome of their children,” he said.
Mr Oloyede said parents must be able to cater for the children they produce, according to the Islamic provision.
Mr Oloyede also called for special parenting of the child girl.
He said it is more delicate to bring up a girl child than a male child.
“It is one thing to parent children, it is another thing to parent a girl child. There are peculiarities that should be handled. Boys can make mistakes and more often than not, get it rectified.
“But in the case of the girl child, a mistake can be irreversible. Therefore it is important for parents and family to be educated on this,” he said.
He also urged religious leaders to create awareness on harmful cultural practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM), stigmatisation of victims from sexual abuse, violence against women, restriction of access to education for the girl child.