How 'Smiles for Mothers' Is Keeping Mothers Alive in Nigeria

About one in every five global maternal deaths happens in Nigeria. Improving maternal health outcomes must remain a key priority that generates urgent policy action. According to the 2018 Nigeria Demographic Health Survey, out of 100,000 live birth, 512 women will die while giving birth. In the same survey, findings suggest that the lifetime risk of maternal deaths indicates that one in 34 women in Nigeria will have a death related to maternal causes. The underlying causes of the high maternal mortality rate are multi-faceted and includes the inequalities in access to healthcare in a country, writes Bunmi Oyebanji for Nigeria Health Watch.

Smiles for Mothers, a consortium working to reduce maternal deaths caused by postpartum haemorrhage by 20% by 2022, is applying a human-centred design approach that puts the people for whom the solution is being designed for, at the centre of the process. The consortium is providing support to the Federal Ministry of Health, working in Kano, Lagos, and Niger States, the programme's three pilot states.

The most common causes of maternal deaths in Nigeria are postpartum haemorrhage, sepsis (infections), and high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia). However, postpartum haemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal deaths accounting for about 25% of all maternal deaths in Nigeria.


Pregnant women check out their birth kits (file photo).

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