Maternal Mortality Launch
Doctors Health Initiative (DHI) is a human rights organization dedicated to the development and maintenance of healthy family life. Given the pivotal role women play in meeting the health needs of the family, their own health is our top priority. Women deserve quality health care especially maternal care. No woman should face the risk of dying in pregnancy or childbirth yet women in Nigeria are estimated to have a 1 in 13 lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy related complications.
On Friday March 27th 2010, Doctors Health Initiative launched a maternal mortality reduction campaign at the Regent Chinese Cuisine Victoria Island. In her address, its President Dr. Mrs. Obi Ideh stressed that health care is a basic necessity. She said that largely for lack of emergency obstetric care approximately 4000 women’s lives are lost monthly in Nigeria. That is the closest estimate for how many and how often mothers die during pregnancy and delivery in this country. For every mother lost there are 20 others who suffer some permanent disability or other. This picture is not complete till we count the number of pre-born and new born children who also die in the process, an estimated 7000 innocent lives.
A graphic representation of the above situation is the equivalent of ten 747 planes each carrying ONLY pregnant women, 400 in each plane crashing monthly in this country! Unbelievable but true.
The number ONE CAUSE of these deaths is HAEMORRHAGE (UNCONTROLLED BLEEDING). It accounts for 23% of maternal deaths. Availability of safe blood is crucial to reducing maternal mortality. Even in cosmopolitan Lagos, many gaps in health care coverage exist. For instance, a pregnant woman in Lekki Phase 1, who requires an emergency blood transfusion, must have her blood sent to the closest blood bank which is in Victoria Island to have it tested before the right blood is brought to her. Cutting down transit time by using an okada, this blood transfusion processing will take one and a half hours. Death from bleeding in pregnancy takes less than one hour! It is painfully clear why many of our wives, sisters and daughter s are dying daily.
DHI officially launched a maternal mortality reduction campaign with the aim of preventing these unnecessary deaths. It aims to sensitize the public on this issue and to get community participation in resolving them. The last stage of this campaign will be the provision of blood banks project with the aim of contributing to the provision of emergency obstetric care nationwide.
The chairman of the event Col. Paul Obi (Rtd.) commended the members of DHI for this novel idea and urged the participants to come out en-masse to support them in kind or cash.
Also present at the event was Deputy speaker of Lagos State house, Hon. Mrs. Tejuosho who commended the group and encouraged them in their efforts of getting people to donate blood voluntarily.