The Maternal and Reproductive Health Research Collective (MRHRC) has raised a red flag over Nigeria's shockingly high maternal mortality rate, reporting approximately 62,000 annual deaths due to pregnancy-related complications. This alarming statistic places Nigeria at the forefront of global maternal mortality rates.
Prof Abosede Afolabi, the Founder of MRHRC and a renowned gynecologist, unveiled plans for the '#WeMenForHer Movement' during a virtual press conference held in Lagos. The campaign aims to combat the nation's substantial maternal mortality rates, driven by limited access to quality healthcare services, particularly in rural areas.
The primary objective of the movement is to promote the MamaBase project, an innovative intervention designed to safeguard and empower expectant mothers throughout their maternal journey.
As part of this initiative, a dedicated team of community health workers will be deployed to provide continuous support to pregnant women within their communities, ensuring they receive essential antenatal care and access skilled healthcare providers during childbirth.
This ambitious endeavor seeks to enroll an initial 5,000 women into the MamaBase Intervention. Remarkably, 250 expectant mothers have already benefited from this program, with some celebrating safe deliveries.
"The campaign aims to raise N100 million, with each woman receiving a dedicated allocation of N20,000 for comprehensive maternal care," emphasized Prof. Afolabi. "This campaign exemplifies the power of unity in the pursuit of improved maternal health, transcending gender boundaries for a healthier future for Nigerian mothers."
Dr. Mobolanle Balogun, a representative of MRHRC, highlighted the alarming burden of maternal health in Nigeria, where the number of maternal deaths is shockingly high, accounting for 30 percent of such deaths worldwide.
Multiple factors contribute to this crisis, including post-delivery hemorrhage, labor complications, post-delivery infections, and high blood pressure, according to Dr. Balogun.
Afolabi stressed that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends adequate antenatal healthcare to prevent maternal deaths, but she expressed concern over the poor quality of healthcare services in Nigeria. She also pointed out cultural influences and poverty as significant barriers to accessing antenatal care, with approximately 70 percent of Nigerians living below the poverty line.
Ms. Funke Iroko, another MRHRC representative, shared the organization's vision of ensuring women have access to high-quality healthcare through research, advocacy, and collaborative efforts with other organizations.
Prof. Abidoye Badegesin, Chairman of the Society of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians of Nigeria (SOGON) Lagos State chapter, emphasized the dire situation of maternal deaths in the country, stating, "Developing countries usually have a single-digit [maternal mortality rate], but in Nigeria, we are having three digits and above." Urgent action is required to address this pressing issue.