Amujae Leader Dr. Adaeze Oreh—Country Head of Planning, Research, and Statistics for Nigeria’s National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS)—has published a new research paper on the current state of maternal health in Nigeria.
Drawing on a range of social and historical theories related to maternal health, Dr. Oreh’s new research explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigeria’s pre-existing maternal mortality challenges. Dr. Oreh argues:
“Every woman has the right to live and thrive. To accept the tragedy that one woman in the world dies every two minutes from pregnancy or childbirth due to preventable causes is to deny their basic right to life.”
The research also explores the potential of policy for rights-based interventions that address the following three areas: inequity in access to safe essential and emergency obstetric care; disenfranchisement and disempowerment of women; and lack of respectful maternal care in health care settings.
In response, Dr. Oreh suggests a community-oriented empowerment framework for addressing poor maternal health outcomes in Nigeria, focusing on the following areas: community involvement; education, skills acquisition, and empowerment of rural women; and a revision of the assessment of negative maternal health outcomes.
Looking ahead, multisectoral, community-oriented, and people-centered strategies like Dr. Oreh’s framework will be critical to help accelerate the response toward ending preventable maternal deaths.
But that is not to say that these frameworks can be applied without challenges. As Dr. Oreh suggests ”…the prevailing power dynamics behind maternal mortality in Nigeria could present the first… challenge to the framework.”
This challenge lies alongside other potential barriers such as securing international donor funding and political support, and resistance to change from health practitioners, spouses, religious, traditional, and community leaders.
Dr. Oreh suggests that the answer could lie in developing an intricate understanding of rural women’s unique challenges within the current system. Only then can stakeholders develop person-centered solutions that are genuinely derived from—and effectively respond to—women’s needs, as well as the needs of their families.
Read the full publication here.