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Web 2.0; The Courage to Speak Up!

On June 8, 2011, Olujuwura, a friend and brilliant architect died at childbirth. Doctors had in the process of a caesarean operation erroneously cut off her right fallopian tube, her artery and had transfused her with the wrong blood type. Olujuwura died giving life. She bled to death.

Her death confirmed to me my thoughts for years. Medical negligence must have some kind of impact on maternal mortality. Medical personnel must be skilled and accountable; hospitals must be responsible for every life.

The silence that follows maternal death in Nigeria is not unusual. Victim’s relatives are usually persuaded to accept fate, religious colourations are introduced and with time, the death is forgotten...

Upset by the news of her death, I updated my Facebook and Blackberry status to depict my anger at the shabby medical treatment she received. A newspaper editor was on my contact list. She requested to speak with my friend’s family and eventually did a six page interview on medical negligence in Nigeria and its impact on maternal mortality rates. Readers’ feedback was awesome!

Let’s have the same situation without Web 2.0.

I will probably have grieved alone; the editor would have dedicated the six pages covered by the interview to something else. Few people would have heard about medical negligence and its impact on maternal mortality, a lesser number would have learnt from it and I probably would never have had the courage to stand in front of the editor to request for an interview on behalf of my friend’s family. Even if I was able to summon up the courage, the editor would probably have been too busy to see me. Web 2.0 pierces your thought through the minds of people who ordinarily would not care!

One important solution Web 2.0 brings to global women’s empowerment movement is that it serves an opportunity to meet and team up with other women of like minds. This year August, another death due to medical negligence during childbirth was reported. The victim fell off the operating table in the course of a caesarean operation. Having been aware of my campaign against maternal mortality on Facebook and twitter, a young female doctor at the hospital where this new death occurred contacted me. Today, we are working together to fight maternal mortality in rural areas, arranging a self assessment and improvement skill test for midwives and providing a justice support system for victims of maternal death. Although we are in different states, Web 2.0 provides us with the meeting point we require.

Web 2.0 gives me the power to identify the ills in the society, fuels my passion for change, urges me to make a difference and offers me the platform to create bonds with like minds in other to save other women and move the community forward.

Web 2.0 gives me the power to punch issues of life without making a fist. All I need is a laptop and my fingers lying straight and tall!



usha kc's picture

Adepeju sis, very nice

Adepeju sis, very nice story you shared. It reflects the effectiveness of the web 2.0 so clearly.

Adepeju's picture

Thank you usha kc. Loooking

Thank you usha kc. Loooking forward to reading yours :-)

INSPIRE's picture


Hi Peju. I just joined pulsewire and i am feeling your pulse already. Thanks for that article. I read the story in the newspapers in Nigeria and i cried throughout. It is sad that Juwura died in a teaching hospital where she was born. it is sad that she died at all. Medical negligence is taking the lives of several women especially in developing countries. Peju, you know the sadder aspect? Many of these acts are swept under the carpet probably because the women concerned have no one to speak up for them. Beyond my tears Peju, we shoudl keep talking about it. The other time, i learnt of a woman who died after a caesarian operation. A negligent doctor forgot a piece of gauze and sutured it in her belly. She died two days later. A very close family member who is part of the surgical team told me about this. the event was covered up after the gauze was found inside her. It is a pity. But i will continue to write about it. Let's keep pushing. Women must be aware and know the risks when going into the labour room. Perhaps, the woman would have noticed if she was given a spinal anaesthesia which allows you to participate in the surgery rather than the general anesthesia. We women must weigh our options. But first we must know the option. No woman should die while giving birth. That's it.


Adepeju's picture

Hello Inspire, Thank you for

Hello Inspire, Thank you for your comments.

I'm really glad you read this interview when it was published. You have helped me butress the power of Web 2.0.

The culture of silence in medical negligence cases is the major issue we have in Nigeria. This probably explains why we still have the highest maternal mortality rates in Africa and the second highest in the world. Beyond building healthcenters and donating equipments to hospitals, persuading women to go for antenatals all in the bid to curb maternal mortality, skill checks for medical practitioner must be taken seriously. Doctors and hospitals must be accountable. Religious institutions must stop been used as a medium of promoting mediocrity. Two weeks before Juwura's death, a similar death occured at the hospital. If the relatives of the dead woman had taken action and not resigned to fate, the doctors who attended to Juwura would have been more careful. Action must be taken by victims relatives to forestall other deaths. I speak up not only for juwura and her relatives, but for millions of women all over will will still go through the process of childbirth. The time to act is now!

MaDube's picture

I love your expression 'the

I love your expression 'the platform to create bonds with like minds' because that is what this space is all about. Well written article!

Adepeju's picture

Thank you MaDube :-)

Thank you MaDube :-)

Irum Haroon's picture

Your piece

I enjoyed reading your submission very much. I'm sorry fo your friend and I hope your words and actions continue to bring much needed change for the life giving women of Nigeria. Take care!

Adepeju's picture

Thank you very much Irum. I

Thank you very much Irum.

I enjoyed reading your comments too. We will continue to make our voice heard and take action. We won't stop until we see a change.

Nezed's picture

'All I need is a laptop and

'All I need is a laptop and my fingers lying straight and tall'! Wow.... That got me reeling in laughter! Well done Love...

I do not aim for Perfection; Just excellence!

Adepeju's picture

Nezed, Good to know I made


Good to know I made you laugh. Now I know you've got really tall fingers *wink*

Carlotta's picture

I am sorry for the loss of

I am sorry for the loss of your friend. i enjoyed reading your article and kudos for all your activism. i hope it will ensure that medical personnel are alert when they deal with human lives.

Adepeju's picture

Thank you Carlotta, I share

Thank you Carlotta,

I share your optimism too...

enamara's picture


So sad a story but so powerful what web 2.0 can do,
Am sure your friend's death with get justice some day.. I loved to read your entry though the story is sad.

Adepeju's picture

Thank you Enamara, Today we

Thank you Enamara,

Today we speak up and fight with courage, not only for the victims, but for those alive who have every chance of going through the same medical procedure.

YAOtieno's picture

Keep it up

Hi Adepeju,

I really enjoyed reading your article. Keep doing what you are doing for the women of Nigeria - Saving lives by utilizing the power of socail media to demand accountability and responsibility from medics



A candle looses nothing my lighting another

Adepeju's picture

Thank you for the encouragement

Thank you so much YAOtieno. I really appreciate your comment. Like you have pointed out, there is no limit to what social media can do. It saves lives :-) Your words have really encouraged me. Thank you again.

faridaY's picture


Adepeju, this is extremely powerful and well written. I am sorry about what happened to your friend and thank you for highlighting an important issue and for speaking about it. Maternal mortality is a real problem all over Africa and so many of us indeed keep quiet when people we know suffer through issues of medical negligence.

Adepeju's picture

Thank you FaridaY, I pray we

Thank you FaridaY, I pray we all have the courage to speak up against this ills that affect us all.

Derinho's picture

True talk!

Wow! That's what I call pulsating with life. Despite the tragedy, your use of a true situation to depict the effectiveness of Web 2.0 is very vivid.
Many women die doing what is natural (childbirth) and had fewer complications even in the days when technology wasn't this advanced. I agree with you that Web 2.0 can put human faces to the statistics and give a voice to previously un-aired issues.
Change is possible, change is now!

Adepeju's picture

Change is now!

I can't agree with you more. Change is possible, change is now!! Thank you Derinho :-)

udoka29's picture

Truely Inspiring

As I read your essay I actually felt a tug in my uterus and for a moment put myself in your late friend's position. There are indeed too many cases swept under the rough in Nigeria of medical malpractice and not enough information to prosecute offenders. But with your use of web 2.0, it could make a lot more people report these cases instead of just "leaving it in God's hands".

Adepeju's picture

Thank you Udoka. I'm actively

Thank you Udoka. I'm actively working on making people aware of their rights in medical negligences cases and telling them of the benefit of reporting and taking action. It could save another woman's life.

udoka29's picture

Yes I agree

My sister's co worker and friend died after giving birth to her first. It was obvious that it was neglect from the "doctor's" side. Our family OB/GY suspected that it wasn't the first time it had happened. The procedure to check was like ABC to them, not to mention how easy the surgery to remedy the situation and save the poor woman's life would have been: standard procedure. The doctor barely looked remorseful and was confident that her family wouldn't seek action (which they diddn't)

Kadidia's picture

The courage to speak up


You have summarized the reality of this particular issue concerning most women in the world and especially in Africa.
Women have to have the "Courage to speak up". Technology allows it to happen and at the same time the direct social pressure to force one to keep quiet can be avoided.

Nezed in her comment said that all that is needed is a "laptop" and the internet connection.

Today to speak up, all that is needed is courage and willingness to do so and a laptop. You are courageous and let's make sure that this courage is not lost and does not operate only in one area of Nigeria but in the entire country and in the world.
Nobody will speak for women but women. Thank you for this article depicting such a common issue concerning women and the disastrous situation of African health facilities and negligence that is scarcely covered by the traditional media.
It is a human right violation.

Kadidia Doumbia

Adepeju's picture

Thank you very much kadidia.

Thank you very much kadidia. I agree with you that this is a human right violation. Everyone has a right to life...

VC's picture

realising Web2.0 power

"Web 2.0 pierces your thought through the minds of people who ordinarily would not care!" - this stayed with me, suddenly the 'power' of the medium is beginning to sink in!

Vaishalli Chandra

“I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind.”
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Adepeju's picture

lol...Thank you VC

lol...Thank you VC

bluepearl2001's picture

Power at Your Fingertips!

Dear Adepeju,
Your essay hit the target: Powerful, passionate, personal, poignant, and compelling. I could feel your heart as it coursed through your brain, down your arms, and through your "straight and tall" fingers on your keyboard, right into my heart.

Your essay more than met the "requirements" of the Week 1 Assignment. It revealed a powerful young woman who has something important to say, who has the tools to share her dreams and visions, and who has the courage to speak her truth.

And you understand that truth and courage are so much more powerful than "making a fist". I was encouraged by that. There is too much violence in this world. Let us make changes for womankind and for all people with our voices and our writing, with powerful ideas that inspire others to follow our lead.

As an American physician, I understand medical negligence. Wherever it occurs, may there be voices like yours to speak for those harmed. Keep writing, keep believing in yourself and your power. You are the new tomorrow, the new world. Remember that, be strong and let the world know that YOU are here to stay and that you have something to say, something worth listening to!
I so look foward to reading your next assignment. Keep it real!

Adepeju's picture

You really don't know how

You really don't know how inspired and motivated I am by these kind words. Thank you so much bluepearl.

bluepearl2001's picture


Inspiration comes in many forms, but largely it comes because we open ourselves to receive it.
Your words and passion are truly inspiring to me. Remain open to receive even more praise. You deserve it!
Best to you today and every day.

CindyColes's picture

Excellent work!

Dear Adepeju,

Your story is powerful and moving, and your commentary illustrates clearly how the web is making a difference in addressing the issue.

I'm looking forward to your next article. Excellent work!

Cindy Coles

Adepeju's picture

Thank you CindyColes..I'm

Thank you CindyColes..I'm glad you think my article is excellent :-)

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