You may or may not know this, but April 11 is the International Day for Maternal Health and the Non-Governmental Organization in Which I’m the Head of the Content & Development Team, Safer Hands Initiative (SHI), decided to host a summit to commemorate the day and note the current state of Maternal Health in Nigeria; and actions being taken to improve, as Nigeria has been a major contributor to the number of women that have died due to pregnancy related causes (Maternal Mortality).
Program started with a brief on what SHI is and it was taken by the Executive Director, Dr. Roland Ojo.
Next Abisola Ajayi, the President of the Association of Medical Students, University of Lagos (AMSUL) and core member of SHI, took us down memory lane showing what SHI has done since it’s inception in August 2017, such as past outreaches done in Lagos and Osun State, trainings Traditional Birth Attendants on how to recognize emergencies and how to provide immediate care before referring to a more advanced healthcare provider.
Next we had the first panel, which I moderated. It was about the key contributors to Nigeria’s Maternal Mortality rate, and my lively and well-informed panelists were: Dr. Ajose, President of the Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (Lagos Chapter), Mrs Bose Ironsi, Executive director, Women’s Rights and Health Project (Representing Lagos state Teenage Mothers antenatal clinic), Mrs Bose Ironsi, Executive director, Women’s Rights and Health Project (Representing Lagos state Teenage Mothers antenatal clinic) and Ms Tina Igbinedion, Program Officer, Action Health Inc., (AHI).
The major recommendation made by the panelists is the important role Education plays in reducing maternal mortality – education of the teenage mothers, who are the number one contributors to unsafe abortions – which is a major factor of maternal mortality, education of the boys and girls in schools about sexual health, as well as teachers in school who tend to give only basic sex Ed in biology class, and even parents, as they are supposed to be the first source of sex education a child gets. We need to get these conversations happening in safe spaces, and stop letting children find out about sex from the wrong sources where they get incomplete or even inaccurate information, which could lead to teenage pregnancy.
The next panel was on Family planning – Achieving family planning, way forward in Nigeria. They discussed the current Contraceptive prevalent rate in Lagos, Nigeria and trend overtime. The panelists were:
Dr Edun State Team Lead – Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI 2) and Dr Makinde Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and President, Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), LUTH Lagos.
The moderator was N. O. Olajumoke Adebayo – Licenced Registered Nurse-Midwife (Bsc. N), Team lead and founder of Reprolife Nigeria.
Recommendations made? Family planning plays a massive role in combatting maternal mortality, as 30 percent of maternal deaths can be reduced by increasing actions on family planning.
(L-R): Dr Makinde, N.O. Olajumoke Adebayo, Dr Edun.
Dr Edun State Team Lead – Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI 2)
The last panel was Increasing maternal health access: reducing prevailing mortality.
Dr Afolabi Oluwatoyosi, Sexual and Reproductive health right expert and advocate, Medical Practitioner in OAUTH.
and Nurse Olubukola Oyedeji Registered nurse/midwife and facilitator, Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s Mamacare antenatal and postnatal clinics
The panelists spoke on Puerperal and neonatal Sepsis; its cause and management as well as The 3 delay model and the integrated approach.
The young, but well-experienced panelists recommended that hospital staff’s attitudes need to be modified to encourage people to attempt to access hospital care, which addresses 2 of the 3 causes of delay in accessing help in cases of maternal emergencies. They also identified that there is a lack of skilled birth attendants that can identify delivery complications early enough for intervention to be taken.
(L-R): Nurse Olubukola Oyedeji Registered nurse/midwife and facilitator, Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s Mamacare antenatal and postnatal clinics, Dr Hassan Eniola, Research team lead, Safer Hands Health Initiative and Medical Practitioner in Lagos Island Maternal Hospital Dr Afolabi Oluwatoyosi, Sexual and Reproductive health right expert and advocate, Medical Practitioner in OAUTH.
It was a thoroughly enlightening event I’m grateful that a number of stakeholders in maternal health were present, so as to ensure the recommendations made don’t just remain recommendations, but they become positive changes. Till next time, Dr. ETP xo
Few more photos for good measure? Sure thing:
Dr. Kemisola Agoyi, Co-Founder of Safer Hands InitiativeCross Section of the audienceMrs Bose Ironsi, Executive Director Women’s Rights and Health Project
Safer Hands Initiative Team Members
Till next time, Dr. ETP xo