Women Having Babies in Nigeria With No One Present: How Could This Happen Now?

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By: Dr. Nosa Orobaton, Chief of Party, Nigeria Targeted States High Impact Project (TSHIP), JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc.

This post is cross-posted from The Pump.

Did you know that nearly 20 percent of all births in Nigeria occur with no one present with the mother? I did not know this until July last as I casually thumbed through the 2008 Report of the Nigeria Demographic Health Survey. Knowing the several things that can go awry during labour right through the immediate post-partum period, it is unfathomable that our society will permit a woman to go through such a risky event by herself!

I presented the findings from a further analysis of the DHS data with Bolaji Fapohunda during the second Global Maternal Health Conference.

A staggering 1.54 million babies in Nigeria out of the annual 8 million births are delivered with no one present with the mother. Ninety-three percent of all these births occur in the three northern zones of the country. More specifically, 70 percent of all these births occur in the northwest zone of the country. We do not know enough about this phenomenon of births with no one present. It is not encouraging that it coincides with the regions of Nigeria with maternal mortality rates far in excess of the national average.

All participants in the session were unanimous that this practice is entirely preventable; all or any applicable instruments of policy and execution should be deployed to eliminate the practice. There should be no room for such a practice in the 21st century.

Further research is being contemplated and the findings will be used to inform and educate lawmakers and policy makers especially in northern Nigeria to act. Our mothers, neonates and communities deserve no less.

Take a look at Dr. Orobaton’s presentation here.

Check out the conference website to view additional presentations.

Join the conference conversation on Twitter: #GMHC2013.

Visit JSI’s blog, The Pump, here. Follow JSI on Twitter: @JSIHealth.