Saturday, 13 September 2014


Becoming a mother is every woman's dream...well, not every woman's dream which is okay by the way. But it was one of mine. I craved the joys of motherhood forgetting that oftentimes, pain accompanies the actualization of dreams.

You go through the dreamy 9-monthy motions and voila...the cute wrinkly squirming pinkish bun that took 40 weeks or less to bake pops out in all his slimy glory.

He's finally here and your heart feels like bursting with pride at what you've just managed to achieve. Didn't you just give life to another being? The whole world thereon takes on a new meaning.

Then something goes slightly un-okay...deep cervical lacerations that requires extensive stitching...and then you remember in the painfully hazy bliss that you 'pushed' in haste in order to obtain relief from the million tiny needles piercing your whole being.

Hemorrhage. Soreness. Searing pain beyond reason as the attending doctors battle for hours to tidy the mess left of the cervix. Pain so intense you cannot but pass out only to be awakened hours later by some cheek and feet slapping forcing you to slowly come back to your surroundings.

You barely have time to groggily fit the pieces together before discovering that the baby's eyes seem to appear funny, un-babylike tinged with a yellowish-green hue...the skin unhealthy looking.

Heart pounding furiously in your mouth as the doctor examines him and a nurse clad in white hovers around. Then the flurry of activities, plunging needles in his tiny 1day old vein to take blood samples. Every tiny whimper and wailing breaking your heart into a million pieces. This tiny one is not supposed to know pain.

Verdict: Jaundice...and baby just had to be whisked away to the neo natal ward where he stays for the next one week - all these, before you have a chance to bond properly and nuzzle his soft squishy pink cheeks.

Welcome to the world of an informed and urbanized new mom who was lucky enough to have access to the best medical care...

I could have lost my life or I could have lost my baby or both had I been in some remote area with inadequate medical infrastructure or inadequate resources to seek medical help!

In another part of the city, one not-so-lucky mother just gave up the ghost in a little rustic 'mission house' with no skilled medical worker in sight. 
Reason? Hemorrhage...poverty...inability to afford good medical care...ignorance.

In yet another part of the town, things went awry and one new mom just lost her life in a 'General hospital' surrounded by skilled medical personnel. 
Reason? Hemorrhage...mismanagement.

Also in another part of the city, one woman just witnessed her long-awaited new born baby join the angels...stone-cold before she had a chance to introduce to him the warmth of a mother's love.
Reason? Jaundice...traumatic / prolonged labor...brain starved of oxygen for too long...poor management.

Yet countless new born babies are being traumatized with some surviving their ordeal but end up having severe brain damage on account of poor handling / mismanagement.
(C's friend's baby far away in South Africa on my mind as I type this...the poor little darling) .

Sometimes last year, I was brought low by the stark reality when a friend lost his wife during childbirth which I wrote about here: Life givers still giving in to death.

Not much has changed as we move closer to the 2015 deadline for the MDG-4 & 5 goals.

''In 2000, world leaders adopted a series of ambitious goals–the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)–including commitments to cut poverty by half, get every child into school, and dramatically reduce child and maternal deaths by 2015''

This also includes commitment to reduce maternal mortality ratio by three quarters between 1990 and 2015.
In Nigeria, maternal and child mortality rate still remain high in spite of all the concerted efforts that have been put in place towards reducing the sad occurrences.

The outlook is still bleak as 1 in 13 women still die from pregnancy and childbirth, in Nigeria alone. 

My dear country reportedly has the highest mortality ratio in Africa! 

''Maternal deaths have not reduced and the country still loses about 52,000 women yearly from pregnancy - related complications''- WHO

Only 40% of deliveries are still attended by skilled medical workers and this has made the MDG goals on maternal health seemingly unachievable by the year 2015. -Source

Think of the rural areas. Think of the mothers who are miles away from health facilities yearly losing their lives or losing their babies or both while trying to give life.

Lack of skilled medical workers.

"It is for this reason that the Nigerian government has desperately recalled more than 2,000 retired and unemployed midwives to rural areas to tackle the problem."

Sadly, despite the international and local efforts, the statistics continues to look grim for Nigeria, India, Congo, Pakistan and China. These countries collectively account for half of the deaths globally. 

''Particularly in Nigeria, mortality rate for children under the age of five reportedly rose from 100 per 1000 live births in 2003 to 87 per 1000 live births in 2011'' -UNICEF

The reasons are not far fetched. 

- Out of religious beliefs borne basically out of ignorance, a fair percentage of our expectant women would still opt for home-birth or the infamous 'mission houses'. Besides ignorance, poverty may well have a hand in such decisions.

- Lack of access to quality health care especially for the mothers resident in the rural areas. Some mothers would only appear at the health facilities for the first time during labor.

- Inadequate / poor medical infrastructure

- Lack of basic amenities such as portable water, good roads, etc. Wondering what water and roads have to do with this? Think of personal hygiene. Think of rural areas with the closest health clinic being miles away with the roads inaccessible.
- Shortage of trained medical personnel

- Reluctance of skilled workers to migrate to the rural areas.

'Six in ten mothers in Nigeria receive antenatal care from trained medical personnel'. -WHO

It is an established fact that early presentation and good antenatal care could greatly prevent the major causes of neonatal mortality in Nigeria.

Painfully, these needless deaths could indeed be prevented, the resources are available but the awareness has not gained sufficient momentum to make significant differences.

Statistically, one in five Nigerian child would never reach the age of 5! 
Heartbreakingly sad.

''Infant deaths, which account for half of child mortality have increased from what they were in 1990. With a 13% immunization rate for children between 12-23 months, Nigeria is the African country with the lowest vaccination rate''.  -WHO

What then can we do?
With less than 500 days to the deadline set, what have we been doing?
What can we achieve as a people between now and then?
What can I do?
I am joining the Marathon of Moms' Voices movement of Mom Bloggers for Social Good to spread the word about child mortality and maternal mortality.

I am supporting the Save the Children initiative.

What about you?

You may not be able to go to the rural areas to enlighten our mothers, you may not be able to contribute financially towards putting the necessary infrastructures in place but I implore you to visit the Save The Children website and spread the word-

Be. Accountable.

You may want to join in the conversation...and do your bit in helping to snatch the next mother and child from the grim clutches of death.

Hopefully our collective voices would end up making a deafening sound which would spur our Leaders to take decisive actions in line with the Millennium Development Goals to Save Our Children and Our Mothers by putting key interventions in place.

This is pretty important to me because it is my belief that irrespective of status or geographical location, every woman deserves access to quality maternal care and every child deserves the best shot at life and living.

No mother deserves to die while trying to give life and no child deserves to have his / her life cut short before it's even started.
Every child deserves to be in school. Every child deserves the best.
Every mother deserves the best she can get in this day and age with all the resources at our disposal.

Regardless of skin color, location or social status, we are one.
We are sisters driven by similar goals. 

The 'less privileged' uneducated rural sisters cannot help education, no resources, no electricity, no broadband....let us be their voices and lend ourselves to this global campaign.
Our leaders must be awakened to the current realities and compelled to make the changes we desire.

I leave you with these pictures from around the world... maybe they would just strike the right chords in your heart, loud enough to propel you into acting anyhow you can.

 But when you realize that in other places of the world, 18, 000 children die every day from preventable causes and a million of newborns die on their first day of life, it’s time for a reality check. (via Mery Knows Best: WE CAN HELP TO SAVE MOMS AND CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD #MGDMOMENTUM #COMMIT2DELIVER #SOCIALGOODMOMS500)
Child Marriage
#MDGmomentum #commit2deliver #stopmaternaldeaths #socialgoodmoms500

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At 13/09/2014, 08:16 , Blogger Kiru Taye said...

So much education is needed for our women. That women still die or lose babies during childbirth is so appalling in this day and age. Great post.

At 13/09/2014, 08:29 , Blogger Abiola Olaleye said...

Oh Kiru, thanks for visiting.

Technologically, we are not where we were decades back and it really is beyond appalling that the statistics are still this grim.

Education is key indeed.

At 13/09/2014, 17:05 , Blogger Sarah Haney said...

This is an excellent post. I shared on the World as One Project's social media. This is a big issue that needs to be addressed for sure. So many lives are being lost when it could be prevented.

At 13/09/2014, 17:38 , Blogger sykik said...

Very informative. I am short of words, I will do my bit

At 15/09/2014, 21:40 , Blogger Thecla Ojeifo said...

Great post B. Will check the link and add my voice. We are indeed sisters despite our color, status or location.
Great job on making a difference.

At 16/09/2014, 19:13 , Blogger New Dawn said...

Well informed post! Enlightenment is the key as you explained. I still strongly believe the hospital is the best place to birth children and not trad homes or churches! Then back it up with intensify prayers, because GOD is remains the greatest physician!

At 16/09/2014, 19:14 , Blogger New Dawn said...

*GOD still remains*

At 27/09/2014, 17:05 , Blogger Abiola Olaleye said...

Thanks for sharing, Sarah.

At 27/09/2014, 17:06 , Blogger Abiola Olaleye said...

Thanks, Sykik. I hope and pray our collective bits bring a significant difference.

At 27/09/2014, 17:07 , Blogger Abiola Olaleye said...

Thanks, Thecla. We really are sisters regardless of our many differences.


At 27/09/2014, 17:25 , Blogger Abiola Olaleye said...

Thanks, Sis.

Hospitals are the best but some people still ignorantly prefer trad and mission homes!


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