Little is being done to cut rate of infections during childbirth, a leading contributor to Nigeria's high maternal mortality, as well as prevent malaria attacks, according to the charity Citizen's Health and Education Development Initiative (CHEDI).
Speaking at a community outreach at Byazhin community in Kubwa, Abuja, targeting reduction of malaria, HIV/AIDS as well as maternal and child care, director of CHEDI, Adolphus Enyioha, lamented that rate of infant deaths in Nigeria was "still very high" due to infections picked up in the first five years of life.
"Some mothers during birth are not taken care of and infections can come in," he said, noting that though in most births even in the absence of birth attendants, fellow women stand in ensure the baby arrives, "unfortunately they do these things with their bare hands."
CHEDI, which distributed materials to women at the community health centre, is pushing for birthing kits, which contains sterilised blade and coverlets that traditional birth attendants can use to help deliver mothers who don't go to hospital for childbirth, in addition to mosquito nets treated with long-lasting insecticide to "prevent malaria attacks" and condoms to avoid unwanted pregnancy and space births adequately.
Enyioha explained that Nigeria desperately needed to kick out malaria, as many developed countries have done, because it impacted the economy of the country, adding that in its presence, "mothers are unable to take care of their children and fathers are unable to work while for anybody working, his contribution at that time is negative to the economy."
The village head of Byazhin, Ahmed Azacheyi, said though knowledge about the real impact of malaria was lacking, his community would benefit from emergency care afforded by the birthing kits which will cut infection in newborns.