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.
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

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Open Source Seeds Hit the Market, Raise Awareness

First open source seeds include 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid