Every time I come across a report or statement that presents catastrophic statistics of Nigeria’s health environment, I bleed within because behind every statistic is an appalling narrative and behind every story is a name. Sometimes, these stories are very close to home. They are not just numbers of nameless individuals on Nigeria’s demographic surveys. These are people. Human beings with life and blood. Individuals dying because society is yet to make the decision that their lives are worth saving.
During the pregnancy with my first child, I had a friend who was equally pregnant but died few minutes after giving birth. Tragically, her baby died too. We lost mother and child. Her husband has not fully recovered from the tragedies because it was his first child. Another lady in my church was recently buried.
She was just thirty-one years old and married for only three years. Incidentally, the pregnancy was her first and she did not survive it. No woman should die while giving life. It is an anomaly that must stop. Families who are expecting good news should not be hounded with death news.
Parents expecting a grand child should not be drowned with the losses of not just the expected grandchild but their own daughter or daughter-in-law as well. Such tragedies should be fought on all fronts. Society must decide that the lives of these women are worth saving like Prof. Mahmoud Fathalla, past president of the International Federation of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said: “Women are not dying of diseases we can’t treat… They are dying because societies have yet to make the decision that their lives are worth saving.”
Maternal death is a serious challenge and everyone should be concerned because every statistic is someone’s mother or wife, sister or friend, neighbor or colleague. Every time we hear the phrase maternal mortality, we should be wary and worried because the death represents another loss for everyone. Every number in Nigeria’s maternal mortality rate is another tragedy, another sad story that could have been and should be avoided. The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) is the ratio of the number of maternal deaths during a given time per 100,000 live births during the same time-period. A maternal death refers to a female death from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management (excluding accidental or incidental causes) during pregnancy and childbirth or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy.
Maternal Mortality may sound like a bogus term simply referring to maternal deaths but within those two words are the silent and untold miseries of many millions.
Many issues are responsible for Nigeria’s alarming maternal mortality rates. Most of the maternal deaths arise from poor family planning strategies and high-risk pregnancies, including young girls with obstructed labour. Less than two years ago a damning report from National Population Commission stated that more than 50, 000 young girls with unwanted pregnancies die yearly from complications arising from procuring abortions. Yearly! If these teenage girls had used a modern contraceptive method like Sayana Press injection, they could have avoided the unwanted pregnancy and ugly results of unsafe abortion and death.
DKT Nigeria is offering a basket of contraceptive choices to Nigeria women and improving the lives of Nigerian families in general. The underlying vision of DKT Nigeria is, ‘Let Every Child Be Wanted.’ Children who are not desired should not even be conceived.
DKT Nigeria’s product offerings include Kiss and Fiesta Premium condoms, LYDIA IUDs, Postpill emergency contraceptive and Levofem daily contraceptive pills, Sayana Press injectable, Implanon NXT and Jadelle implants. Every woman who wants to plan her life by adopting family planning should be encouraged. It is to the Nigerian society’s benefit if our women are healthy, strong and alive. No woman should die while giving life. No woman should be deprived of access to contraceptives or any life-saving medicines. No woman should be denied information that can save her life and the lives of her unborn ones.
No Nigerian woman should die because of unwanted pregnancy!
By Chidinma Onuoha