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Survival of Mothers and Babies: A Collective Responsibility

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Wednesday, February 17th, 2016
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A mother holds her newborn baby.

Nigeria is one of the countries with high maternal mortality and infant mortality rates. People sometimes liken the maternal mortality rate in countries such as Nigeria to a full Boeing 747 crashing daily in order for us to appreciate the gravity of the situation. However, for so long we have being blaming government for what they have not done to improve maternal and new born health in Nigeria but we have not stopped to think how  we, by our actions and inactions, have  contributed to this.


Yes it is true that in Nigeria about 40, 000 women die during labour and delivery, that 12 out of every 100 children are born preterm, that post- partum haemorrhage (bleeding after child birth) is the highest killer of our women, and that lack of skilled birth attendants and lack of essential drugs contribute to the grim figures of women and babies dying.

But how many of us have taken time to visit that Maternity centre or Primary Health Center in our communities? Do we know if the staff posted there, come to work? Have we asked what their challenges are? Our daughters and sisters who are pregnant, have we found out if they do go for the required number of antenatal care services? If they are not going, what are their reasons? Can we take it upon ourselves to sensitize our community leaders to make sure that in their domain, the pregnant women should have access to  antenatal care services and deliver in the health facilities, for the survival of mothers and babies?

Nigeria’s National Blood Transfusion Services are collecting only 3% of the blood needed in Nigeria. You can help organize blood drives and donate your blood. There is no ‘black market’ for blood! Only human beings like you and me can donate blood for the survival of mothers and babies.

In Nigeria, the Preterm birth rate is 12% per 100 live births and prematurity accounts for 33% of Neonatal deaths, translating to about 87,800 deaths per year!!! Can we imagine the trauma that these intending mothers go  through? What psychosocial support can we bring to bear in the lives of these women?

These are the posers for us. On this website, I shall be sharing with us some of the efforts individuals like you and me are engaged in to save the lives of mothers and babies in their own communities. Maybe you too can be a MamaYe Champion, or you can mobilise others to hold people in authority accountable for the resources committed into their hands for improved health service delivery.

For further reading you may wish to visit MamaYe Nigeria @

Fola Richie-Adewusi is a Community Development Specialist and facilitator. She served as Commissioner for Women’s Affairs in Ekiti State, Nigeria, 2011-2014.


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