Young Champions Share Their Wishes for Maternal Health

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By: Kate Mitchell, Manager of the MHTF Knowledge Management System, Women and Health Initiative

As our Young Champions of Maternal Health pass the nine-month fellowship program’s midpoint, we asked them to reflect on their wishes for maternal health. Solomon Abebe Addis (Ethiopia), Chinomnso Traffina Ibe (Nigeria), and  (Nigeria) accepted our challenge and shared their wishes on the Young Champions Blog.

“If I could have one Maternal Health wish, it would be: to see a world where maternity is a time of celebration for all mothers.” -Solomon Abebe Addis

In his blog post, Solomon details an exchange with one of the women who he interviewed for his research project. This woman lost her mother to maternal mortality. While the villagers forgot about the deceased mother shortly after her death–maternal mortality was a common occurrence in the village–the mother’s death changed her family’s life. Her daughter, Solomon’s interviewee, turned to commercial sex work and contracted HIV. Now that she is pregnant, she dreams of having a safe birth and seeing that the day is full of celebration rather than grief.

“My maternal health wish is that all pregnant women would have universal access to free quality maternal health services regardless of social class, level of education, cultural background, religion or belief, deliver safely remain alive and healthy for the upbringing of their children.” -Chinomnso Traffina Ibe

Nomnso’s blog post speaks to the need for Nigeria to reduce its maternal mortality ratio. Though federal and state governments have tried subsidizing maternal health payments, the cost of specialized care during pregnancy leads some women to turn away from hospitals for maternal health care. Like Solomon, Nomso wishes for a day when preventable maternal deaths are eliminated so that every mother and family can experience the joy of childbirth and motherhood.

“If I could have one maternal health wish, it will be that primary health care facilities are well equipped to give adequate basic obstetric care in Nigeria.” -Oluwadamilola Olufunbi Olaogun

In her blog post, Funbi refers back to her experience collecting data. Facilities were poorly equipped, and many community health extension workers had not received refresher training for years. Women experiencing pregnancy complications lacked easy access to secondary-level facilities and relied upon primary health care facilities for maternal health care. While Nigeria’s shortage of skilled birth attendants presents a challenge, Funbi sees a potential solution in training and equipping a lower cadre of health workers to deliver essential obstetric care at the primary facility level.

To learn more about the Young Champions’ experiences, please visit the Young Champions Blog. Additional information about our current cohort of Young Champions and their mentors is available on our website. The Institute of International Education administers this program, in collaboration with the MHTF.