What You Must Know Before Getting Pregnant #safemotherhood

Media visit to NURHI 72 hour makeover PHCs in Ibadan. Mrs Elegbeleye Atinuke (Senior CHEW) in an FP counseling session with a mother – Mrs Lamidi Rukayat. Media group was graciously allowed to witness the session with client’s permission.

What you know can help you make informed choices. The problem is sometimes we do not have access to the necessary information to help achieve a quality life and improved economic power.

An information shocked I and participants present at a Media Family Planning advocacy Roundtable meeting organized by Development Communications Network(DEVCOMS) supported by The Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative(NURHI). I have always felt that ectopic pregnancies occur only in the fallopian tube but at this meeting, we heard that a woman was reported to have actually carried to term a baby that developed in her abdomen. The facilitator Dr. Tunde Olatunji explained further that the abdomen is that place which houses the womb, stomach, liver, kidney etc for those of us not medically inclined. So rest easy the abdomen is not the same as the stomach where food is digested.

According to medical reports ectopic pregnancies rarely do survive however It was possible for this woman to have her baby grow in her abdomen and termed instead of her womb. Probably early detection and close monitoring by skilled and well trained medical personnel. Imagine if she had delayed going early to register for antenatal care! The ectopic pregnancy growing in her abdomen would not have been discovered on time which could have been fatal for her and the unborn child. You can read up more about Abdominal pregnancy and the threat it poses to  a woman.

It is very important therefore that every woman, expectant or a would be mother be informed about preconception, antenatal and postnatal care available to them.

In lay man’s terms, ectopic pregnancy is when the sperm fertilizes the egg of a woman outside the womb. This means the embryo gets implanted and begins to develop outside the womb. Usually, ectopic pregnancies are flushed out because it is high risk to the health and life of a mother.

According to an article written by the American Pregnancy Association, known risk factors for ectopic pregnancies include:

• Previous abdominal/pelvic surgery
• Several induced abortions
• Pelvic inflammatory disease
• Maternal age of 33 -44 years

Knowledge is like a light bulb in a person’s head which sheds light on an issue. @debisibusybee

A few take away from Dr. Tunde Olatunji’s lecture on Improving Maternal Health

  1.  Preconception care involves providing adequate education about what pregnancy means to a woman’s health. Would be mothers should be encouraged to take care of themselves, eat right and stay healthy. This will prepare their body for the challenges that come with conception
  2. The health of a woman during pregnancy, at birth and postpartum(after delivery), is of crucial importance.
    Register early enough for antenatal care. This will give the pregnant woman to have access to education about what to eat, tests and immunizations required for expectant mothers; need to rest in between births and not have frequent deliveries etc.
    – Deliveries should be carried out by skilled birth attendants and health personnel.
    – Infection if not diagnosed early can make a woman who delivered safely to fall ill. And this can be a threat to her life.
    – Postnatal care provides information about breastfeeding and when to start feeding the child with other types of foods; immunization dozes for newborns; and when it is safe to have another child.

The first 24 hours after delivery critical for mothers and newborns. 2/3 of all maternal deaths occur during the postnatal period. – Dr. Olatunji

3. Grandmas and mothers-in-law to be educated about old practices that can be harmful to the wellbeing of mother and newborn. Example massaging the umbilical cord with a hot cloth heated on a lantern.

4. The burden of maternal mortality is an important input to health decision-making. Skilled health personnel are inadequate in health facilities; where we ought to have 15-17 personnel there are only 5 -6 skilled workers.

The government needs to invest in health care in order to prevent depletion of its populace and reduce productive manpower.

Family Planning services should also be budgeted for as it has been reported that this helps reduce maternal death by 40%

Life is precious and the one who is the vehicle that conveys life should not die while trying to achieve this. Every life counts and matters. – @debisibusybee

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Principal Producer (FRCN) 
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

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Pay Attention To Her #PATH

When you go shopping for your sanitary towel do you insist that the shop owner put it in a black polythene bag all in the bid to keep your purchase a secret? If you’ve ever done this raise your hands 🙌 no one will see you 😊. Yours sincerely is guilty as charged too! Now that I think about this as I begin to type this post I realize that there is this general feeling of embarrassment or shame when it comes to menstruation. In fact, if a guy stumbles on your sanitary pad while ransacking your bag by mistake; he will apologize profusely for invading your privacy.

But really in your opinion should girls and women be embarrassed about menstruation or sanitary pads? Should boys and men know about the menstrual circle of women so that no one will feel the need for embarrassment? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

As a mother, I am already talking to my 11year old daughter about her body and menstruation. She has seen me use sanitary pads and I have shown her how to even stick it on her underwear. Already we are talking about hygiene while menstruating. Incidentally, also my son gets to ask questions about this. At least he knows what a sanitary pad looks like and what it is meant for 😉.  Now, some girls are not that privileged to have someone talk to them early enough about their menstrual circle and how to go about being comfortable with this normal occurrence in the female gender. Many adults/parents even emphasize the “embarrassing” attitude of a girl’s menstruation. Where I come from mothers will warn their girls seriously about not leaving their sanitary pads lying around even the unused one.

The other issue to menstruation challenges is lack of access to affordable and hygienic sanitary pads for some girls who come from a background with low means. My very first post Why Femininematerz?   which inspired this blog takes a look at how some girls in communities skip school whenever they are menstruating basically because they cannot afford sanitary pads. In one community in Uganda girls use corn husks… Really breaks my heart.

It is, therefore, a delight to meet another person who alongside her team is demystifying menstruation and promoting hygiene and access to free sanitary pads for school girls. Dr. Kelechi Okoro founder of Heal For Africa Initiative and her group of volunteers have recently taken this message to school girls.

Below is an excerpt sharing information about the launch of a project advocating for the need to Pay Attention to Girls, as put together by Charles Osagie, The Project Manager HFAI. It was an interesting read for me.

HEAL FOR AFRICA INITIATIVE donates free pads and school materials to 300 girls, advocates for the empowerment of The Girl Child.

 

HEAL For Africa Initiative, a Nongovernmental organization known for their advocacy in the area of health, quality livelihood, empowerment and education especially for the girl child has successfully flagged off another project called Pay Attention To Her (PATH).

According to the Founder, Dr. Kelechi Okoro, she said this project will focus on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of girls and women, reorienting and enlightening them about all female health issues. The PATH project has taken off with menstrual hygiene education and distribution of free sanitary pads and hygiene products for secondary schools.

Dr. Okoro, speaking at the launch with over 300 girls at Al Ansar Secondary School, New Layout in Lokoja, the medical expert espoused on the ills of seeing menstruation by young girls as disgraceful, shameful and dirty.

She acknowledged that young school girls are having limited access to affordable sanitary materials thereby making them use unhygienic options that increases their risk of having infections that may affect their reproduction in future. She thoroughly educated them on self-confidence and self-awareness too.

“We need to let our girls know that whatever sanitary method they use while menstruating, must be hygienic, and that they should not feel ashamed during their Period,” Okoro said.

She also recommended that the Ministry of Agriculture look into production of reusable biodegradable eco sanitary pads made from agricultural materials, saying it would be more hygienic, safer and affordable than the disposable ones.

“This sensitization and training are going to be a continuous program that will cut across schools in Kogi, Nigeria, and Africa. We are positive that the PATH project is going to be a huge success.

“Period is a thing of pride, you don’t have to be ashamed of it, it is everybody’s business. We need everybody to show support for it because it is important for health and nation-building.

Several top government functionaries and seasoned keynote speakers were on ground to impact on the program. Amongst them was the Chairman Board of Trustees of HEAL For Africa who doubles as the Executive Director of Tiny Beating Hearts Initiative. Mrs. Petra Akinti Onyegbule inspired the participants to become self-confident and dissuaded them from being sober and sad when they find themselves menstruating especially for the first time especially when mistakes of being stained occurs during this period. She spoke extensively on “Empowering the Girl Child and its Role in Nation Building”.

In attendance were some policymakers: the Secretary to the Kogi State Government, Mrs. Ayoade Folashade Arike(Ph.D.), Dr. Attah Ahmed, the Special Adviser on Health to Kogi State Governor and Mrs. Musa Mimi Sandra, the Senior Special Assistant for Women and Children Development to Kogi State Governor.

The program was wrapped up with goodwill messages from Queen Sarah Yusuf, the Publisher Xera Magazine, Miss Aliyu Rufia, the Teen Ambassador of the PATH Project and Principal of the host school, Alhaji Gimba Ibrahim.

The Coordinator of the Not Too Young To Run Bill, Umar DanAssabe Mohammed also lends his support to this movement.

Let’s help girls get comfortable with their menstrual circle days. No shame in menstruation! Support girls in your community by giving or advocating for free sanitary Pad donations /access to affordable ones. – Adebisi 

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Media Tour to Aketan and Kolobo Primary Health Centres, Oyo #Maternal/ChildHealth

A conducive working environment makes workers feel confident and helps with being more productive

In the company of a few journalists from Oyo state, I went on a media tour to two Primary Health centers this week. I look forward to trips like this as it gives an opportunity to see things as they really are on the field when working to improves lives of members of our communities. In this instance, I and the media team got an eyewitness account of what Primary Healthcare facilities in Aketan and Kolobo in Oyo town looked like after a 72hour makeover work by the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI).

These facilities had been renovated a year ago by NURHI and made conducive for mothers, infants, and children who come to the access health care services. The field visit was organized by DEVCOMS Network, a media development, capacity-building non-governmental organization working with NURHI in promoting media advocacy on maternal and child health and family planning.

Front view of Kolobo PHC. Head Nurse-Mrs Adesola, DEVCOMS project Manager – Omobonike Ogungbemi and Demola – Tribune.

As the team of media personnel drove into the compound of Kolobo PHC which was the first facility we visited, I noticed the building looked bright and colorful as the painting on the wall still looked new. In a chat with the head nurse Mrs. Adekoya, she explained that prior to the renovation she and her staff could only use one room to carry out all services to clients. This included attending to every case in that same room and staff could not sit comfortably in the other rooms inside the building. She was all smiles and happy that the facility was now more conducive to their work.

Health workers need well-equipped facilities and a conducive neat environment in order to work efficiently.

Hospital beds at Kolobo PHC and baby cots

However, the Head Nurse advocated for more beds to be provided as the health care center had only four beds. Therefore whenever more than four women are in labor then there is usually a problem of bed space to accommodate the extra waiting mothers. Sometimes they put an extra mattress on the floor and they are forced to discharge mothers quickly after delivery. The good news is that more women now come to the facility to adopt family planning methods suitable for them at the renovated facility.

Mrs Isiak Zainab an FP user posing for a picture at the renovated family planning room at Kolobo PHC.

The other good news on the trip is that I met a number of family planning users who were happy about their methods. One of whom is Mrs. Aisha Shuaibu a 20year old mother of three children already. Using family planning method has now helped her to rest in between births, stay healthy and take care of her family better. Mrs. Isiak Zainab a 28year old mother of two children said they uptake of a family planning method has enabled her to adequately space the birth of her children. They shared their experience using an FP method and how it has helped the well-being of their families. It was also nice to hear that these women are able to give time to their business without the stress of getting pregnant too quickly after being delivered of their babies.

Front view of Aketan PHC as journalists on media tour steps in

At Aketan, the health center was even a bigger facility, here also we were met with a bright looking environment. The head nurse in her testimony said that more women now come to register with the clinic and there is an increase in the number of those coming to take up family planning. Some family planning users also shared their story on how FP is helping they and their families to have a less stressful life.

Maternal and Child health continues to be an important area of health concern as it has to do with preserving the next generation of the human race. Therefore improving the well-being of mothers, infants and children require providing adequate and accessible health care services for them.

One of the challenges of maternal and child health care is getting access to a well- equipped facility that has trained health professionals to cater to the needs of pregnant mothers. The Primary Health Care Service is meant to be close to communities so that mothers do not have to trek long distance in order to get health care services.

Volunteer community mobilizers talking to the media about why they choose to be FP advocates

In Oyo State, there are 33 Local Government Area Councils which has a number of PHCs. As part of the efforts to upgrade this PHC for community use, the Nigeria Urban Reproductive Health Initiative since it began its work in Nigeria has contributed immensely to improving maternal health through advocacy, education, and collaboration with all stakeholders in bringing to the fore the need for improved family health and wellbeing. NURHI continues to promote the use of family planning methods in order to raise whole and economically empowered families.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

XX-FILES Debut on International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGMC.

Me interviewing our guest on radio for FGMC zero tolerance day.

I am excited to be a part of the ideas team for XX-FILES a radio program that inspires women to reach for the sky and beyond.

We wanted to do a special package to educate listeners about the negative impact of female genital mutilation and cutting on girls and women for the 6th of February. This is the international day of Zero tolerance for FGMC.

All the morning shows were not suitable so I shared the idea of doing a one-off women’s program only for that day with my bosses. The idea got a positive nod. However as we sat down to plan and give the program a title out came the phrase XX chromosomes and then XX-FILES! Everyone liked the idea and that was how I got myself into extra work o… Meaning that my work load had simply increased. Just when I was thinking of shedding something off *wink.

Right now XX-FILES is now going to be a weekly live program… All about the female gender. A splash of the different aspects of women’s lives ranging from lifestyle, leadership, politics, empowerment, fashion, relationship, family life, career issues and more.

So thanks to the International day of Zero tolerance for FGMC – we gave birth to a brand new program. My guest for the debut edition was Ms Abimbola Aladejare – Founder and Executive director of The New Generation Girls and Women Development Initiative.

Ms Abimbola Aladejare on red t-shirt, me, her team & radio stations staff

She is an FGMC survivor and is passionate about ending this harmful cultural practice.

Female genital mutilation and cutting is not a campaign slogan it is an issue that affects many girls and women. Many live with the consequences of having been cut. Let’s keep the discussions going; let’s keep educating those who hold tenaciously to this practice in ignorance.

Together we can end FGMC in a generation!

XX-FILES comes up every Tuesday at 10am on Premier FM 93.5.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Woman To Woman Talk #26: Are you Overdoing Your Weight Loss Goal?

If you wake up every morning to work out in order to keep in shape raise your hands…🙌🙌 even If I can’t see 😀you. Thumbs up for you 👍👍 

Credits: Dreamstime.com

Hmmmn…however it is likely that many of us do not have time to do that morning jog or in-door exercise. If you are like me, all you can think of in the morning is getting the children ready for school and getting yourself to the office on time.

Lately, I noticed a sharp drop in the size of a few female acquaintances that really disturbed me. These ladies are on the plum side before but seeing them after a few weeks they looked really thin. At first, I was alarmed and asked if they had been ill, only to hear the words, “Oh I am on a diet or weight loss plan”. My response was to say, “Please stop whatever diet program you are doing”! The reason is that they now look so thin that it begins to feel that they are sick. So I ask you, dear lady, are you overdoing your weight loss plan?

There are a variety of weight loss plan and products being promoted every day whether by friends, colleagues or via the media. A good number offer quick fix diet solutions.

If your weight loss plan promises to help you lose a huge amount of weight within a short period, WATCH IT!!

Frankly speaking dear sister, we were all never meant to be a size 8 figure. They say variety is the spice of life, you have to understand your physiological makeup. Some people have big bones and therefore will never be a size eight. And being plum is not a bad thing either. Now I am not saying maintaining a good healthy weight is a bad idea. It is important to maintain a healthy weight but not by taking harmful risks.

If you feel overweight do something about it but do it right! Follow the slow and steady wins the race method of exercising and eating right and healthy too.

Some weight loss programs or products have a list of foods that are not a balanced diet. Therefore many women using these methods do not eat healthily. And for me STAY AWAY FROM WEIGHT LOSS PILLS!! Yes, you will hear things like it is perfectly safe, certified and tested but seriously why do you need a drug to help you lose weight? It means you are in a hurry. After you quickly lose that weight how do you maintain it?

Discipline is key to maintaining a steady and healthy weight. Quick fixes only mess up your body metabolism and endanger your health. Who knows what organ in your body would be affected.

Even natural leafs such as “Ewuro” also “Bitter Leaf” can be harmful if overused. I heard about a lady who kept squeezing bitter leaf every day and drinks the water produced. It later damaged some of her organs because it was an overdose. Bitter leaf is acidic and should be taken like maybe once a week or better still eat it as a vegetable soup. This lady died as a result…how so sad!

Please slow and steady wins the race. Don’t just take on every weight loss plan trending because your friend says it works magic. Think about the long-term effects on your health.

Adebisi Adetunji(C)

Ectopic pregnancy: Life Threatening – Know the signs and report early for treatment.

This post is inspired by the story of a dear sister whom we almost lost to ectopic pregnancy recently. She passed out and was rushed by family and neighbors to the hospital. It was almost too late! We were all so grateful that she survived it. Not too long after this incidence while in the hospital to do a check-up myself, my doctor lamented over recent cases of ectopic pregnancy. He was sincerely upset by the fact that women who have ectopic pregnancy show up at the hospital almost too late; some did not survive. I sat there at the hospital knowing that something had to be done. So here I am trying to start with writing this piece in order to educate as many people as possible. Please share with others and read up on other materials on ectopic pregnancy.

Credits: iEmily.com

What is Ectopic Pregnancy?

When pregnancy occurs outside the uterus, then it is an ectopic pregnancy. This is also when a fertilized egg settles outside the uterus or womb usually in the fallopian tube. It is also referred to as tubal pregnancy.

It is important to know that ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening pregnancy complication for women. If not quickly discovered can cause serious reproductive organ damage or death. Every life is sacred and no woman should have to die giving birth to another life.

Ectopic pregnancy is a cause of maternal death among women in the first three months of pregnancy. Bleeding occurs when the tube where the baby is growing ruptures and this can lead to death.

According to a Wikipedia report  the rate of ectopic pregnancy 1-2% in developed countries and can be as high as 4%  with pregnancies achieved through reproductive technology. In developing countries it is higher.

A sign that ectopic pregnancy might have occurred:

  • When menstruation does not show up for a while and a woman experiences sharp pain in the lower abdomen. It is therefore very important to study your menstrual circle. (Know the date of your last menstruation that is the day you started. Be informed about the number of days your circle takes e.g 28days or 30days).
  • Irregular bleeding which can be heavy or lighter

Risk factors/Causes of ectopic pregnancy

  • Previous infection in the fallopian tube.
  • Previous surgery of the pelvis or fallopian tube.
  • A blocked tube which can hinder a fertilized egg from descending to the uterus.
  • Previous inflammatory diseases of the fallopian tube and pelvis.
  • Previous attempts at using technology to achieve pregnancy e.g IVF.
  • Previous abortions

Is it treatable?
Yes, ectopic pregnancy when it occurs is treatable. A surgery is usually carried out to remove the growing baby from the fallopian tube in order to save the life of the mother.

Ectopic pregnancy is a major cause of death among women of reproductive age in Africa. When a woman delays going to the hospital, it may be too late to save her.

Dear woman, once you notice a delay in your menstrual flow and you are experiencing sharp pains in your abdomen or bleeding do not play the guessing game of self-medication! Go to see your doctor in the hospital!!!

Adebisi Adetunji(C)

One Way to Prevent Abortion

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.

There are arguments for and against the morality of doing an abortion. Whichever side of the divide you belong to I believe the most important thing is to deal with the reason why anyone would want to do an abortion. My own point of view though on the matter is that abortion infringes on the rights of an unborn life. Going for the option of an abortion is a big choice and is not a simple matter. There are risks involved in doing one and a woman should not take this step without proper counseling and be informed about choices available.

Who & Who would Get an Abortion
1) I see young school girls endanger 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 people who 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.

Circle Bead – A modern family planning method(femininematerz photo)

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 regret was 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.

Couples/Married
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.

Adebisi Adetunji(C)