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The Nigeria Demographics and Health Survey (NDHS 2018) ratio of 512 per 100,000 live birth and neonatal mortality of 36 per 1,000 live births and still birth rate of 42.9 per 1,000 birth, Nigeria still remains on the list with the highest maternal mortality rate.

The NDHS 2018 ratio has clearly indicated that Nigeria contributes the highest number (23%) of maternal death in which most of these maternal death, still birth, neonatal death are preventable if adequate measures are in place.

Government in their efforts to accelerate the reduction of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality introduced Safe Motherhood Week, with the objective to raise awareness on adequate access to quality of care during pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal period.

Oyo State government is no doubt one of the leading state in the country as regards campaign of maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.

The state government in a weeklong activities held across all the local government areas of the state simultaneously to commemorate this year’s Safe Motherhood Week took sensitization and health education to some religious houses and market squares where the targeted audience can be reached.

•••Dr. Muideen Olatunji, The Executive Secretary, Oyo State Primary Health Care Board…

Speaking on the theme of the event titled “Investing In Maternal Health For A sustainable Future”, with the slogan “Mother Lives, Child Thrives”, the Executive Secretary of Oyo State Primary Health Care Board, Dr Muideen Olatunji, stressed that the whole idea of the Safe Mother’s Week is to draw more awareness to the needs of mothers, both from individual, family, community and the government to be able to reduce the scourge of high maternal mortality and morbidity that is prevailing in our community.

He said, “There are various ways in which we can draw this attention. You will see that the unacceptable high maternal mortality rate that we have is a consequence upon some level of ignorance and that is why we have to think about the issue of awareness creation and health education. So we encourage mothers to access some services that can actually promote life and help mitigate against the high morbidity and mortality rate that we have among the women of childbearing age.”

“For instance, Oyo state, in an effort to improve access to care, has decided to work in the line and basis of the Ward Health System and this is system to ensure that in each of the political wards of the state, there is a functional primary care facility there, not just a facility, but one that would be optimal in functionality. So that women, and by extension, any person can access care in such facilities. By that, we are removing barriers to access to care, and when they get to the facility, you can be rest assured that proper care will be given to such mother or women of childbearing age.”

“Part of the enlightenment that we give now actually starts before they start getting pregnant. We have a range of women of childbearing age, which is about between 15 to 39 and we tend to talk to them that from that age of 15, they should start accessing some level of vaccination, which is tetanus vaccination and TT will empower them to be well protected throughout the period of childbearing season that they were as a mother.”

“Again, we encourage them to get exposed to vaccination with Hpv vaccine against cervical cancer so that they can be well protected when they go into things that bring them in contact with blood or blood parts or body fluids even with their partners, so they can be protected, and when you protect the life of the mother, you protect the life of the child as well. And again, we encourage them to start accessing antenatal care services as much as possible, and we encourage them to have something we describe as a focused antenatal care services.”

“It is not mandatory that they must go every month to the facility to assess ANC services, but you can have at least minimum of four contacts with healthcare provider throughout the period of pregnancy. By that period of time, you can actually segregate somebody that will need more than that four contacts. Someone that will need not more than that four contacts. At minimum, every person should have that four contacts before delivery and these are the things we are doing to ensure that we reverse the trend of high maternal mortality in our society.”

“The government is also encouraging through health insurance policy, we call it community health insurance and in that line, the area of focus, based on the basic healthcare provision fund system plus social health insurance, is to put children under five and pregnant mothers under the vulnerable ones.”

“So, all the pregnant mothers are enlisted as beneficiary of health insurance based on the fact that they are pregnant and with that one, government has paid for what will be needed for their services. You will see that government is doing a lot to ensure that people actually access care and be able to get a qualitative care in various facilities and when you take such an opportunity, you can be rest assured that a skilled nurse will attend to you. A skilled attendant will attend to you during your birth and any unforeseen circumstance that might even occur during pregnancy can be easily identified and referred to the next level of care. The ultimate goal is to have a live mother and a healthy child.”

“So, the goal of the state is to ensure we reverse the high maternal mortality to the barest minimum. If possible, in the shortest time possible, eradicate it so that we have less than five or ten in the 100,000 live births that we shall be having. That’s the goal oyo state is trying to work towards, like we have in the best practices of the world.”

“The Safe Motherhood Initiative is an annual event. That why I said it creates more awareness to draw attention to the needs of mothers and the expected role from the community, individual and the government to do for the well-being of the mothers.So, we have this kind of event last year and we are having it now. He said.

No, you don’t relate with coverage. What you relate with is the fact that you create awareness. You touch many communities and you don’t take the census of how many people are in attendance when we are doing it.

While briefing journalists during the sensitization outreach at the popular Oje Market, the Reproductive Health Coordinator for the state under Oyo Primary Health Care board, Mrs Abodunrin Funmilayo, stressed that this year we are commemorating the safe motherhood week 2024 because we found out that the rate of maternal mortality in the world is high with Nigeria contributing 23%.

She further said, “We are doing this because we want reduction in maternal mortality. So this year our theme is “Investing in maternal health for a sustainable future”, and our slogan is ‘mother lives, child thrives’. We want the mother to live and the child to thrive.”

“We have been to churches and mosques to capture women and also the men, so that they will be able to direct their wives to where they should deliver, and the women will be educated on why they need to deliver in a safe place.So we mention where they can deliver, the secondary, tertiary and primary facility. We inform them that the place is conducive now because the governor has renovated the facility and it is a good place to deliver.”

“We are featuring sensitization in the mosques and also in the churches throughout the 33 local government areas, and today is for outreach in the market in all the 33LGA and it is happening simultaneously. So today we are in Oje Market right here in Ibadan. We have distributed flyers that will inform, educate the pregnant women about what they should do in order to be in good health, and where to deliver, and why they should deliver in the hospital. So we have gone round to sensitize people and to explain to them the things they should do.”

“They asked questions about family planning, So we integrate family planning because it is an opportunity for people that are in the market, because normally they don’t go out to do family planning. So this will help them also to access family planning and you know there are some things that we can’t do in the market, so we have a referral form to refer them to the clinic where they would attend to them. They only need to present the form and tell them at the clinic that they are from Safe motherhood, they will be attended to, this is being done free of charge.” She said.

Some of the services provided for the women during the Safe Motherhood Week Outreach includes health education, injectable family planning method, counseling, Free Blood Pressure test, and weighing among others.

While speaking on the service rendered during the outreach, Mrs Abodunrin Funmilayo said, “The injection that is being given is a family planning method. They are short term ones that doesn’t need a real process. We also counsel them here. They are being counsel to choose the methods they want and then we also check their BP. So it is an opportunity to capture them in the market and those that need a long term method, we refer them to go back to the clinic.”

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