News / Africa

Nigeria Recruits Midwives to Save Lives

Nigeria Recruits Midwives to Save Livesi
X
March 12, 2013
Nigeria has one of the highest maternal death rates in the world and an ambitious plan to ‘save one million lives’ through health programs that target mothers and children. Officials say supporting midwives -- often the only medical specialists available to women in labor -- is a cornerstone of the program. But, as Heather Murdock reports for VOA from Abuja, midwives say they still need more resources.
TEXT SIZE - +
Heather Murdock
— Nigeria has one of the highest maternal death rates in the world and an ambitious plan to ‘save one million lives’ through health programs that target mothers and children.  Officials say supporting midwives - often the only medical specialists available to women in labor - is a cornerstone of the program. But, midwives say they still need more resources.

Patience Afor Abdullahi, a midwife and the head of nursing at Abuja National Hospital in the Nigerian capital, has lost track of how many babies she has delivered and she would not trade her job for anything.
 
“It’s a wonderful sight to behold," she says. "You just see God at work because the first time I took the baby all that we were taught in the classroom came into play.”
 
Last year, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said his government plans to save a million lives by 2015 through health initiatives for women and children. These initiatives will focus on, among other things, preventing mother to child transmission of HIV, expanding malaria treatments, establishing child nutrition and vaccination programs, and training more midwives.  
 
Abdullahi says, the program for midwives hasn’t yet materialized and many women continue to die in childbirth because they give birth at home without a trained medical expert.  
 
The United Nations says 14 percent of all deaths related to childbearing in the world are in Nigeria.
 
Abdullahi says part of the problem is the shortage of seats for those interested in attending schools that train midwives. And with salaries often as low as a few hundred dollars a month, midwives stationed in the countryside, where there is often little to no electricity and hardly any medical supplies, often migrate back to the cities.
 
“When you have one midwife to about 20 women [and The World Health Organization] says one to four patients.  It becomes difficult when you have to manage a large number of patients,” she said.

Other midwives, like Bola Babadele, the chief of nursing at Abuja’s National Hospital, say basic development problems across Nigeria, like lack of running water in many villages, makes the job difficult and sometimes even dangerous.
 
“And, you know you can’t imagine a midwife, with both hands dipped in the blood, and we’re talking about HIV, infections, sexually-transmitted diseases and you don’t have water to wash with.  And, you don’t have a running tap,” she said.
 
Babadele says the government is currently recruiting retired midwives to get more health workers in the field which, if it happens, could help alleviate some of the problems.  She says, in the meantime, many women do not know the benefits of having medically trained people on hand when they are in labor.  

Babadele maintains health officials need to spread the word among mothers in the countryside that the services of a midwife could save their life.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid