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As a gender scholar,i have read about yearly protests on maternal mortality in Nigeria, as early as 1961, a major street demonstration was organized by women in Lagos to agitate for more poly clinics and better healthcare for mother and children. These protests were often dismissed on mere promises by the government, even with the Zaria Maternity survey in 1973, the better healthcare for women still mirage.
Remembering the major issue in 2011 that brought women on streets of Imo to rally and protest the death of a erstwhile journalist, Mrs Ngozi Agbo (nee Nwozor), who died as a result of complications during child-birth.
Mrs Ngozi was an influential reporter especially among Nigerian students. She didn’t just fulfill her own dream in journalism; she groomed young journalists and gave the practical knowledge to many Nigerian students. Within a year of writing and editing campus life section of one of the three top newspapers in the country, her page became a sponsored page, which is regarded as a huge success in the print media. Her section made Tuesday newspaper compulsory in University classes especially mass communication classes.
Ngozi, with no other words can be described as a successful journalist, proven by the National awards she won. Many Nigerian students idolized Ngozi as their answered prayer to been heard outside school. She gathered her young reporters every year and rewarded the best writers. She was loved by her colleagues and her elegant carriage which she called etiquette dazzled all who met her.
Little was known that Ngozi’s country will mar her future. It began gradually with pressure from family to get married then later as stigma among her colleagues and friends, who believed been single at mid-thirties was uncalled for. She could not share her experience, however, on a Saturday, the news spread of Ngozi’s wedding, her picture was in the dailies, friends danced around her, her colleagues gossiped, while Ngozi’s turned Mrs Agbo.
After SIX months of marriage, Ngozi proved her womanliness with her heavy tummy, the tease then was ‘Tall heavy Ngozi’. Oh poor Ngozi! Her joy knew no bound when she was in her ninth month, she went on leave and handed her work to her right-hand, Hannah Ojo, an intern who never forgive her country for the death of her role-model and confident.
On the fateful day which turned poignant when Ngozi was rushed to a hospital in Ikeja. She laboured for hours before giving birth to a baby boy. But, the spark on Ngozi’s face dimmed and the smile faded, the doctor and nurses could not save her from the pain and tiredness she felt. Her husband was left to tell the story to her little boy and family of how the country’s pathetic condition of lack of adequate infrastructure murdered our great Ngozi.
Tears flowed, her colleagues used their pen to criticize the government, and women organization held rally to berate Ngozi’s death but all were fruitless because Ngozi was dead. “The question I seek answer to is, will this great woman’s death be avenged with good hospitals, better facilities for rural women and adequate care for children? The more i look, it seems hopeless”, Hannah said.


Abisinuola's picture

Maternal mortality rate in

Maternal mortality rate in africa,especially nigeria is still one of the highest so was estimated in 1987 that there were 500,000 maternal deaths yearly worldwide and that 99% of these maternal deaths were in subsaharan africa,southeast asia&latin america.
Sad thing is that these figures are on the rise!unicef figures show that MMR in nigeria is 1000-1500/100,000 live births as compared to 4/100,000 live births in sweden and australia.
What has happened to safe motherhood initiative?what is happening to it?we need to revisit this,with emphasis on quality antenatal clinic visits.this will help in early diagnosis of some otherwise life threatening conditions and for these infrastructures and personnel are needed...the goverment has been trying bEen there's still more work to be done!
Let's raise our voices together to raise an awareness about it!
Welldone tosin


Adepeju's picture


Your story brought again to my memory the lovely Ngozi who was also a friend and former co participant at WISCAR, Nigeria. So many needless and completely avoidable maternal deaths....

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