The management and staff of the renowned Omotayo Maternity Home (OMH), located in Oke-Ado, Ibadan, Oyo State Capital has embarked on a street sensitization to wage war against high rate of maternal mortality.
The awareness rally, tagged: ‘Maternal and Child Health Walk’, was the brainchild of the Omotayo Charity Foundation led by Mrs Olapeju Agunbiade (nee Kayode-Adedeji)
Agunbiade led other members of staff of the health institution on the walk round major areas of the town, including Oke-Ado, Oke-Bola, Ogunpa, Agbeni, Beere and Molete among others
They carried placards with inscriptions such as ‘No Woman should Die Whilst Bring Life into the World’, ‘Everyday, 830 Women Die of Pregnancy Related Causes in the World’ and ‘145 of these deaths occur in Nigeria’
Other placards reads, ‘Only 20% of Health Facilities offer Emergency Obstetric Care’, ’Only 35% of Deliveries are Attended by Skilled Births Attendants’,
Agunbiade stressed the importance of reducing the rate of maternal mortality in Nigeria, maintaining that no woman should die while bringing life to the world.
The Consultant Midwife and Fertility Consultant explained that she took the decision for the rally, following inspiration on the need for reawakening and increased awareness based on the new knowledge she had gathered through reading and researching over the past years.
Shr also expressed concern over high rate of deaths being recorded through pregnant women, emphasizing importance of providing adequate antenatal care, while observing that financial constraint has being a major factor.
‘The project initially was named: Free Antenatal Care and Free Delivery, and that has been going on for two years but now we’ve changed the slogan to ‘reducing maternal mortality rate in Nigeria, no woman should die while bringing life to this world’, which is what the project is all about”, she stated
Agunbiade disclosed that she was motivated to embark on the project when she relocated to Nigeria and discovered the alarming rate of maternal mortality in the country, and thereafter conducted some investigations, hence, her resolve to make a difference and do something about reducing the mortality rate in Nigeria.
“So, just before my 50th birthday, I told myself that instead of having a very big party I can actually raise funds with my friends and put the money together and start providing free antenatal care and free delivery and that was how it started’, she added.
“It’s been great, it’s been good, extremely challenging as well but the joy that I derive from doing the project and the support I get from friends, family and my wonderful donors keeps me going’, Agunbiade said.
She identified challenges facing the project which include reluctance of some women not coming to the hospital, as well as no preparation on their parts ahead of delivery in providing basic amenities, lack of family planning knowledge and government non-challance towards health care
“I’ve tried to reach out to the government but you know in Nigeria you’ve got to give tips and I’ve promised myself that I’m not going to do that because I want to have access to someone. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing, so I don’t get distracted. Why would I tip my way through to seeing someone when I’m actually helping government? Delivery in government hospitals is not free”
The Consultant, however, pointed out that people tend not to value and appreciate the things they get for free and try to abuse the opportunity, consequently preventing those who are genuinely in need from getting help.
Agunbiade explained that to prevent such, the hospital management came up with a policy that henceforth, any woman who comes with a fourth pregnancy and second free delivery would pay.
The beneficiaries of the foundation gestures expressed appreciation to the management of Omotayo Maternity Home, admitting that the health institution has continued to bring smiles to their faces
Dasola Noah, a beneficiary, in her own remarks recalled that she was at the maternity home to visit a patient, was impressed with public relations of the management towards patients and their families and thereafter decided she would have her baby at the hospital if she gets pregnant, not knowing she was already pregnant.
“The nurses are kind to us and treat us well. Omotayo (Mrs Agunbiade) herself was very good to me. Even though she was not around, she spoke to me on the phone and encouraged me. I had a cesarean section but we were asked to go without paying the N250, 000 bill”, she said
Another beneficiary, Stella Akinola who had a set of twins at the hospital, confessed that the authorities of the hospital are very accommodating and caring, having being taken care of throughout her admission in the hospital till she gave birth to her babies.
‘She(Agunbiade) has been very kind to me since the first day that I came to the hospital. She has been like a mother to me. She asked me to move in to the hospital and was taking care of me till the time I gave birth because my pregnancy was at risk. She was the one that paid for my surgery”, Akiola stated
Meanwhile, two of the staff nurses of the hospital, Oluwatoyin Oluwatayo and Zainab Olatunde, in an interview affirmed that they have no regret being a staff of the maternity home, adding that they have equally gained number of experiences which include been friendly, accommodating and show concern to patients at all time.