News / Africa

    Nigeria Recruits Midwives to Save Lives

    Nigeria Recruits Midwives to Save Livesi
    X
    March 12, 2013 10:29 PM
    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.
    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

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora