Yippee… at the just concluded Nigeria Association of Women Journalists(NAWOJ) Press week events, Stella Oyebanji emerged as the Best Female Journalist in Oyo State, on the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health reporting Competition.
Stella is part of my team on the Abiye (maternal & child health) radio education project. We are so proud of her. Kudos girl, keep flying high!!
Once while at Ankor Market in Eruwa, Oyo State with a team on community interaction with mothers about registering for antenatal and immunizing their babies,we came across a few women that surprised us.
One of the women was a young pregnant mother selling stuff in the market.We asked whether she had registered at the hospital for antenatal care and she said she didn’t have the time yet. She travels to the farm to bring goods to sell in the market and was just too busy. It was a thing of concern to my Abiye team(maternal and child health media education team) and I. So here we were in the middle of the market with all the ambiance of bargaining going on attempting to convince this woman to register herself and unborn child at the antenatal clinic. We did our best to educate her on the importance of antenatal care to having a healthy baby and safe delivery.
Moving further down in the market we met a nursing mother with her baby strapped to her back. Shewas there to buy some foodstuff. In our chat with her, we tried to find out if she had been taking her baby for his immunization doses. This mother responded that she didn’t believe in immunizing her children. To her, it was not necessary and she even feared that it might be harmful to her baby. We were flabbergasted at her “ignorance”. Mythought was… “Do people still think like this at this age”?We soon found out that there were others like her in that same market and community.
Again we engaged her in a dialogue to educate her about the importance of immunizing her children to their wellbeing. I enlightened her about the fact that vaccines protect children from childhood diseases that could be fatal. This woman was busy smiling and shaking her head, it didn’t look like she would take our advice and there wasn’t much we could do about it.
Many others like these women whose stories I just Shared really need to be better educated.
It is easy to think that with all the campaign to create awareness about the safety net of immunizing babies and children, people would take it seriously. Unfortunately, there are still those who have a bias and are not properly informed. Community education is still very important and must continue.
As we mark another world Polio day today 24th October 2017, encourage every mother in your community to go immunize their babies to protect their lives and future. Polio is a crippling disease that is iireversible but can be prevented through immunization.
Encourage expectant mothers to also register for antenatal care where they are likely to have proper education about immunization services for their babies.
Abortion is the termination of pregnancy or fetus in the womb before it can survive outside the body. An abortion can be said to be induced when a miscarriage occurs or deliberate when the individual chooses to terminate the pregnancy.
Why is this done
Usually, abortion is carried out because an individual or a couple is not willing to have a baby that is already conceived. Sometimes an abortion is carried out due to health implications to the mother or fetus. Then miscarriages happen and a baby is aborted before it reaches full term for delivery.
Who & Who would Get an Abortion
1) I see young school girlsendanger themselves every now and then attempting to abort a baby. Many of them try to get rid of a pregnancy that “just happens” while been sexually active irresponsibly. Often we hear of girls who try to get an abortion using all kinds of dangerous stuff that sometimes becomes fatal as the girl dies doing this or her womb is damaged leading to serious complications later in life when ready to have a baby.
2) Another group is couples/married peoplewho are not ready to have a baby and pregnancy occurs anyway. So they opt for aborting the baby.
3) This group is what we call sex workers who by the nature of what they do are engaged regularly or on daily basis in an activity that can bring “babies from heaven”. When pregnancy occurs with these ladies they try to get rid of it because hey it is bad for business. Sometimes they do have the babies but imagine how many other pregnancies have been aborted.
4) This group, I will call the “encouragers” or the ones who point women and girls in the direction. The Boys and Men who are not ready to be fathers and flippantly tell their girlfriend or lover to get an abortion. Sounds easy, “is it not just to flush the thing out; I mean it is not yet a life”, says such men.
The Way Out – Know more About Family Planning Options/ Contraceptives
I will try to look at the different categories above Schoolgirls/Teenagers:I am a strong advocate for abstinence but what can we do sometimes when young people want to experiment or are already sexually active? As a parent, I will do my best to support and help my children to wait and not rush into gratifying their sexual God-given appetite, for indeed it can be controlled and waiting is worth it.It worked for me their mother and some others that I have seen.
However, I have met a number of young people who are already sexually active and the question of introducing the use of contraceptives sounds like a good idea. My church mind sends a red alert every time I hear people talking about educating young people about their options when it comes to choice of a contraceptive (condoms, pills etc.). But over time I have learned that sometimes this is the best option for a young person who is sexually active.
An experience that I do regretwas a teenage girl’s case I intervened in while working on a maternal and child project (Abiye-saving a mother/Infant). I will call her Mary. She had to stop going to school because she got pregnant and had a baby. My team and I helped to get a home for her baby while we linked her with someone willing to sponsor her education and who also took her in giving Mary a home and family.
One of the intervention piece of advice we got was to take her to a family planning clinic and help her get a contraceptive method done since she was sexually active. Guess what? We felt it will mean that we were encouraging her to be promiscuous, so we didn’t do anything about it. We would later regret it because soon Mary became even engaged in sexual activities as she was now free of taking care of her baby. Mary left that family and stopped going to school and as we followed up on her case, she aborted a number of pregnancies after that and almost lost her life at some point. Still, Mary won’t stop and now she has two more babies and is inaccessible to us.
So if a girl is sexually active get her to obtain a family planning method to prevent unplanned pregnancy while also working on helping her to make the choice of delaying gratification. And this is not just for girls teach your boy to be responsible. Let him know that If he wants to engage in sex he must know that means he can impregnate a girl so abstinence or use of a condom is advised.
If you are not ready to have a baby; go get a contraceptive or family planning method done instead of aborting that baby. This allows couples to pursue their goals and careers; the woman is able to rest in between births and they can both have the number of children they can provide for. Visit a family planning clinic or see your doctor to get proper counseling on your choice.
Let’s reduce the number of abortions by opting for contraceptives.Create a world where every pregnancy is wanted.
It is really disturbinghearing that another woman or any woman just lost her life after delivering her baby.
In the compound where we live the cries of an elderly woman who lost a dear young woman filters through our window. We rushed out and knocked on her door. She managed to unlock her door and with our concerned and worried faces we stepped in asking her like ten questions all at once. That was when we found out a lady dear to her, someone she had worked with at her office before retirement had just died. They lost her after the birth of her third child… It was a very painful news for me.
I am not sure of the details of the complications that could have arisenduring or after delivery of her baby but I just simply know that… THIS Shouldn’t BE!Complications that can lead to maternal and child death include:
Bleeding/hearmorrahage, pregnancy induced high blood pressure.
Lack of going for antenatal
Engaging services of untrained midwives or health care providers;
Refusal to follow the doctor’s advice
Sometimes it is the careless mistakes of health personnel or anyone taking the delivery of the baby and more.
Having too many births in quick successions.
Prolonged labor due to narrow birth canal and a baby with a big weight or a breached baby.
A lot more needs to be done to prevent these needless deaths of mothers and their babies. Those to ensure this:
The pregnant woman herself – Eat right, take your immunizations, go for regular check up at your antenatal clinic, carry out all necessary and routine checks.
Husband/spouse – Beinvolved and ensure that your wife goes for all her antenatal visits; encourage her to eat and rest well ; watch out for any emergency signs and don’t delay in getting medical intervention.
Families should not insist on old traditional harmful delivery practises.
Other preventive means for maternal deaths or birth complications:
Stop female circumcision/FGMC –This causes scaring in the vagina of such a woman or girl therefore narrowing the birth canal. No wonder then that such a woman experiences prolonged labor and tear that could lead to VVF if the case is not managed properly.
Stop the use of traditional birth attendants and engage trained health personnel.
Adopt a modern family planning method to allow mothers to rest in between births. It also enables a family to have only the number of children they can cater for. Family Planning also prevents a woman who has been otherwise advised by her doctor to stop having children on health/wellbeing grounds.
After delivery ensure the woman goes for her postnatal visit tothe hospital. There she gets medical check up.
Rest..Rest and rest after delivery. Don’t rush into doing your normal work routine doing so much than your body can handle.
Naming ceremony can wait ifthe mother and child are still receiving medical care after delivery.
And seriously a Ceaserian Section is not a taboo or evil! It is a perfectly safe way to ensure that a mother and baby go through the delivery process safely.
Engaging our community and dialoguing with members at the grassroot level about Family Planning is key to poverty eradication and family empowerment.
Once while working with ARDA & NURHI on the field going from house to house, business centers dialoguing and informing people better about the need to plan their families we met a group of men. It was interesting discussing the issue with these men, some agreed that couples should only give birth to the number of children they can cater for but one man’s opinion stood out. This man whom I will call Bode believed that a man has a right to keep giving birth to as many children as he desired. Then we raised the issue if how frequent and too many births can affect a woman’s health. The discussion then centered on the wellbeing of his wife; Bode believed that he would keep acquiring more women to give birth to more children.
I looked at Bode and it was obvious that he didn’t earn much. Bode like many others hold the cultural believe that the Lord Almighty who gives children will take care of them. I believe that God is the giver of children and he also makes provision to care for them. However he expects us to be responsible therefore he will also hold us, parents accountable if we do not train and equip our children with all they need to become responsible men and women in the society.
I see many women at the grassroot suffer and struggle to take care of childrenbecause their husbands/men are busy donating babies to as many other women. Forgive me if I sound rather hard here.
Then there are men who will insist that the woman(his wife) should just keep having as many babies as possible to the detriment of her health and the family’s wellbeing.
Family Planning means having the number of children one can care & provide for.
Family planning is key to preventing abortions.
Family planning has helped couples who didn’t know any better to stop aborting babies. I have met a few couples who were able to relax in between births before having another baby and no longer had to abort unplanned pregnancy.
Life is all about the choices we make. These choices in turn make us and our future.
Your baby’s development and growth starts in the womb and not just after birth. Most times we begin to count a child’s age when he/she is born. I’d like to think that the nine months in the womb should be added. Yes, the life of any child begins at conception. It is therefore important that a woman understands that once she gets pregnant everything and anything she does can affect the development of her child.
As early as three weeks after conception occurs a baby’s organs internally and physically begins to form (head, hand, fingers, intestine, heart etc.) So it is very important for a mother to start eating right and taking care of herself right from the time she is aware that another life is growing in her. I would say even before you get pregnant eat right, eat a balanced diet and feed well. Then your body can have enough supply of nutrients, vitamins, minerals needed by you and your baby.
What you eat; how you take care of yourself and health during pregnancy matters.
Foods rich in nutrient to help your baby develop well in the womb:
Eat a lot of proteinous foods such as egg, fish, meat, beans, Moimoi, Akara(Bean Cake) – Helps your baby’s brain and muscle development. Specifically Beans– contains Zinc an important mineral that helps to give your baby adequate birth weight and cut down the risk of having a pre-term baby.
Dairy products such as milk, yogurt– This is rich in calcium necessary for the development of your baby’s bones, teeth.
Foods rich in fibersuch as oatmeal, cereals rich in wheat – This class of food contain vitamins and proteins.
Vegetables such as carrot, cabbage, efo tete, ugwu leaf and so much more – These are rich in vitamins and minerals.
Water is essentialin helping organs of the body to function properly. Water aids digestion, circulation of nutrients in the body and oxygen flow in the body. Therefore water is very important in pregnancy. Take a lot of water in pregnancy.
Breastfeeding makes a happy and healthy baby. Breastfeeding gives a mother great moments to bond with her child.
Breast milk contains all the nutrients your baby needs to grow healthy.
Exclusive Breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life is worth it. To achieve this companies and organizations need to provide baby care centers to enable nursing mothers breast feed their babies.
To Every Nursing Mother:Eat healthy by taking a balanced diet. Take a lot of fluid such as water, Pap/Ogi, coca oat, tea and fruits🍉🍏🍋🍅🍓🍇. If you are from Africa particularly Nigeria abeg eat correct Amala, Eba, Future with a lot of vegetable. Hehehe enjoy!
Feed yourself very well in order to have the energy and strength to breastfeed your baby. That’s the way to take care of those hunger dizzy spells that occur after breastfeeding all night or any other time of day. 😀😀