Every Mother and Child has the Rights to be Celebrated
The birth of a child brings joy to every home. It is greatly celebrated in Nigeria depending on the culture, religious and tribe. The Yoruba’s will celebrate the 8th day of the child. It is a 'must do' celebration, either poor or rich, the family must look for a way out to celebrate. The Igbos will wait till three months or less, dedicate the child to God in the church. It is usually a colourful celebration. The Hausa family will also make a feast either elaborate or not after the child is born.
Every women in Nigeria look forward to this day to be celebrated with her baby. But not all have this opportunity because of the death of the child either before birth or after birth. Some women are celebrated in death which occur after birth or do not have the opportunity to celebrate because the baby died few days after birth. Pregnancy and childbirth should be occasions to celebrate life but for millions of women in developing countries like Nigeria, pregnancy and childbirth lead to disability and death. The question still remains, why should a woman die giving life?
Of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set out in the year 2000 by the United Nations during its Millennium Summit held at its headquarters in New York, which are to be achieved by 2015, goals 4, 5 and 6 have direct bearing on maternal and infant mortality. They are reducing child mortality rates, improving maternal health and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
While most countries around the world are working round the clock to achieve the goals, less than two years to the target date, most Nigerians are skeptical that the country will achieve such a target by the year 2015 when more than half of the issues related with the identified goals are still being handled with laxity.
Maternal mortality, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes.
Child mortality, on the other hand, refers to the death of infants and children under the age of five. In 2011, 6.9 million children under five reportedly died down from 7.6 million in 2010, 8.1 million in 2009 and 12.4 million in 1990. Child mortality is more prevalent in the Sub-Saharan Africa with about half of child deaths being recorded there.
In Nigeria, experts said pregnancy, labour and early childhood are well recognized as being hazardous in most communities. Every now and then, women get pregnant and are delivered of their children some of whom often die from preventable diseases.
There are growing concerns about the way women and children die daily as a result of health complications in the country. According to experts, statistics on maternal deaths in the country are so shocking and unacceptable. It is said that a nation which allows her women to die in the process of bringing forth live only exists on borrowed time.
In July 2008, I looked forward to be celebrated with my little boy but on that very 8th day that other women and babies are celebrated, mine died (born on 3rd, died on 11th of July). My joy turned to sorrow, I refused to be consoled. Immediately, I recall all the pains, difficulty, visits to d hospital for one disorder or another. I recall walking out of d hospital without my baby, it was painful. It was as if I have known him all my life, after all he was inside of me for 8months. He did not get to the 9th month because of the fibroid disorder. The fibroids were very big, I was between life and dead. Each month comes with it own challenges and pain. The doctor said, he had a respiratory blockage and they couldn't handle it. The problem was not money because they never asked for it. It was a specialist hospital yet they couldn't safe my little boy's life. I am not talking about the tear on my stomach after all many women in woman has it now because that seems to be the only safest option for women at birth. For months, I did not leave the house, I refused to return back to work, I gave up. The few days I spent with him gave me joy, I loved him so much. He was incubated for those few days. I recall how he held my index finger, on one of the days I went to feed him, it was as if he was saying to me, please mummy don't let anything happen to me. The nurse had to take him away again to be inculcated. That was the last I saw him, he gave up before morning. It was never a good experience for me losing him and am certain it is not to any woman. My little's boy life was precious to me.
It is not the size of the hospital building or the beauty of its environment that can save a mother and baby's live. It is the available of a skilled health personnel, adequate functional equipment and availability of essential drugs that matters. Sometimes, the equipment are available but personnel to operate them are absent.
Our leaders thinks they doing so much to improve maternal health and decrease child mortality yet Literally every minute, a woman dies from avoidable complications caused by pregnancy – this adds up to approximately half a million fatalities per year. In Nigeria alone, maternal mortality rate reaches up to 3,200 women (number of mothers per 100,000 births dying within 42 days after the childbirth). The expert on conflict sensitive reporting informed us that the budget of conducting elections in Nigeria is enough to achieve the MDGs. The huge amount of money spent for elections is like money thrown into a pit because the elections turns out to be violence, rigged, fraudulent and the people's vote do not count. My little boy's life, many others babies, mothers, sisters, wives lives were traded for elections.