- Celebrating our mothers- help prevent preventable maternal mortality

This month of May, many of us celebrate motherhood, and reflect on the joy of giving birth. In Nigeria and many other African countries or resource poor nations, many mothers are robbed of that joyful moment and are left with an injury that make life a big burden. Mother's Day is a celebration that honours mothers , motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, yet most commonly in March, April, or May. It complements Father's Day, the celebration honoring fathers. In most countries it is celebrated on the second Sunday in May.

As we celebrate mother’s day today, it brings to mind the many challenges that women face giving birth and raising children in extreme poverty. Many of us knew some women often young, who died in the process of giving birth. Some were sisters, relatives and friends or friends of friends. We wish to celebrate mothers who live in poverty and fight all odds to become mothers and raise their children. Many women pay a special prize and sometime with their own lives for motherhood. These mothers deserve all our honour.

Bill Gate has observed that Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places on earth to give birth and 4th country with the worst maternal mortality rate ahead of Sierra Leone, Central African Republic and Chad.The World Bank estimates that Nigeria’s Maternal Mortality Rate, MMR is still as high as 821 per 100.000 live births. In 2015 for which statistics are available, 58,000 women died in Nigeria of birth related complications. Experts link many of these deaths to hypertensive disorders and haemorrhage (postpartum- PPH), a situation that is preventable.

Think about many mothers living in poverty who have to watch their children die of an illness that would be easily treated in many resource rich countries. Poverty is a major cause of maternal mortality, as it prevents many women from getting proper and adequate medical attention because of their inability to afford good antenatal care. Regretably, medical practice in Nigeria and in many African countries falls short of the ethical principle of showing care in this regard. Poverty no only limits access to quality health care but also human development.

Raising children even when one does not live in poverty is hard enough. For those mothers who are forced by circumstances often not of their making to live in poverty, the challenge is a matter of life and death.

Every day, reports show that 830 women around the world die from pregnancy and childbirth-related complications. This affects women everywhere, from Sierra Leone, where the maternal mortality rate is the highest in the world, to the the most developed countries in the world. In the United States, maternal mortality is on the rise. Child marriage is correlated with negative health and education outcomes around the world.

Many studies have demonstrated that the causes of maternal mortality are various and run deep, and are often rooted in the social, cultural, and economic fabric of society. Nonetheles, it is a fact that nearly all of these deaths are preventable. In this connection, studies have equally shown that up to 98 percent of all pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths can be avoided by providing the quality, respectful care that women deserve throughout their lives and around childbirth.

Maternal mortality would be drastically reduced in Nigeria and many others plaqued countries by the government making increased investments in new technologies that digital health equity, leveraging more and better data to connect every level of a country’s health system. Investments in rural health centers and referral hospitals would help reduce these preventable deaths. Investing in collaboration amongs community health workers,, doctors, and public health officials to deliver quality, equitable care to poor and marginalized women, those who need it most, mothers and children. These are among the most vulnerable members of our communities. In this way, we will be able to protect the health of mothers and their children and thus save millions of lives.

Eveyone everywhere has a moral duty in this regard and can help stop preventable maternal deaths. You can raise your voice on social media by sharing this post. By so doing, you will be standing and honouring these mothers paying great prizes for motherhood. Sure, we all came to this earth through a mother.

Let’s declare together that these deaths are unacceptable in an age we have technologies , interventions that can transform the lives of women in poverty, including those that want to be mothers and those that are forced to become wives and mothers at far too young an age.

Increasing efforts is required to meet Sustainable Development Goals in reducing MMR to less than 70 per 100, 000 live birth by 2030. When there is functioning health system in place and care ethics imbibed by health care institutions and professionals, millions of mothers would be saved.

We have the resources and knowledge to act. We have the knowleddge and the tools to keep women from dying from these preventable causes. We need to promote effective practices and improve access to quality health care at all levels.There could be no more excuses to all these preventable deaths.

Please join SAID NIgeria in celebrating our mothers by working to prevent maternal mortality.

Richard Nwamadi

SAID Nigeria