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Maternal health and child mortality improved in Nigeria

Girl Guide Edith Chukwu from Nigeria shares what girls and young women in her country are doing to tackle the issues of maternal health and child mortality.

by Edith Chukwu, Nigeria

Safe motherhood – a happy child.

Safeguarding the health of mothers and young children is one of the world most urgent needs and a strong focus for the Nigerian Girl Guides Association.

A lot has been done through non-formal education to educate pregnant mothers on the need to be consistent with their antenatal care.

Young and adult leaders of my Association have also been participating in carrying out a nation-wide immunization exercise in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health, we do share treated mosquito net to pregnant mothers in village.

This year young leaders went to government-owned hospitals to educate mothers that came for antenatal care on the need to maintain proper hygiene and eat a balanced diet.

Every year in developing countries, millions of mothers and babies die during childbirth or in the first months of life.

These deaths, we believe in NGGA, are preventable if a little more could be done to assist mothers in the rural areas. A long term intervention could be put in place, like regular training of rural birth attendants, to educate them on cost effective ways of having a safe delivery.

For example:

1.Boiling of sharp instruments used in cutting the umbilical cords to avoid contamination and subsequent infection to the mother and child.

2.Need to administer antibiotics as a preventive measure.

3.Immediate and exclusive breastfeeding.

4.Balanced nutrition for the breastfeeding mother.

In NGGA we are doing everything practically possible to achieve the UN target of saving the lives of 16 million women and children by 2015. We are still calling on government, policy makers, the media and the general public to take more actions.

In 2013, we have planned selected projects to address the issues of maternal and child health, to mark our annual World Thinking Day. A safe motherhood makes a happy child!

Edith’s story illustrates the importance of the UN’s Every Woman Every Child campaign, and the World Thinking Day themes for 2013 – “together we can save children’s lives” and “every mother’s life and health is precious”.

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