Hasana Isa is a midwife at the General Hospital, Azare, Bauchi State. She has worked in the hospital for 7 years. But, recently, due to her encounter with MamaYe Super Activists, she took an unprecedented decision.
In all her 7 years, Hasana has experienced the fact that the number of pregnant women who attend antenatal care is higher than the number of those who come back for delivery with a skilled birth attendant. She said that one of the major issues the pregnant women and their families faced was the cost of giving birth at the hospital and this made them deliver at home.
Available evidence (in the image below) corroborates Aisha’s point. 38.2% of rural pregnant women who receive at least 4 antenatal care reduces to 22.7% of delivery assisted by a skilled birth attendant.
In northeast Nigeria where Bauchi State is located, skilled birth attendants deliver only 20% of pregnancies.
One of the factors contributing to high maternal and newborn mortality rates in Nigeria is the low patronage of the health facility, or skilled birth assistance. It is even worse in a situation where up to 45% of deliveries happened in one state in northern Nigeria (Zamfara) with no one present.
Some dangers associated with unassisted delivery or giving birth at home, or using a traditional birth attendant are the inabilities to identify and rectify complications, which include controlling excessive bleeding.
Simple and low-cost interventions can encourage pregnant women who attend antenatal care to also use the health facility when their pregnancies are due for delivery. One of such interventions was what Hasana did.
Hasana told me that the bill of giving birth was more than what the women could afford, as such; they preferred to deliver their babies at home. Afterwards, they would come to the hospital with problems such as ‘rugged tear’ and bleeding.
After interacting with MamaYe Super Activists who held talks at the hospital, Hasana decided on an action. In December 2016, she started her low-cost intervention, procuring and donating hand gloves to the hospital (where she works) for the benefit of pregnant women in labour.
She has donated 5 boxes of hand gloves, with 100 pieces of gloves in a box. A box costs 1, 150 naira. She has also donated 2 packs of blood bags, 5 bags in a pack and a pack costs 3, 500 naira. This means that so far, in an environment where 100 naira is a lot of money, Hasana has spent 12, 750 naira to help pregnant women and newborns survive.
This will go a long way to encourage pregnant women who attend antenatal care to have their babies delivered at the health facility, under the care of a trained birth attendant like Hasana.
For Hasana, this would be a regular practice.Imagine the increase in the number of pregnant women accessing the healthcare facility to deliver their babies if we had more low-cost interventions. Also, imagine how this would help decrease Nigeria’s rate of maternal and newborn mortality.
We can achieve more if we all act. Which action will you take?
We are looking for more Hasanas. We are looking for more of the MamaYe Super Activists. We know that everybody has a role to play and this is why we encourage all and sundry to act now to save the lives of mothers and babies and help reduce the rate of maternal and newborn deaths.