By Chioma Obinna
With 576 dying out of every 100,000 pregnant women in Nigeria due to birth complications, MTN Foundation, MTNF, is renovating 24 hospitals across six states under its MTNF Maternal Ward Support Project. The six selected states are Oyo, Niger, Kaduna, Abia, Cross River and Sokoto States.
The goal under the first phase showed that four hospitals in each of the states renovated would be equipped with 20 hospital beds, 20 standard mattresses, 20 bed pillows, 10 four-way foldable ward screens, 20 metal bedside cupboards, 20 visitors’ chairs, 10, drip stands, hydraulic over-bed tables, height adjustable baby cots, and carl novel baby incubators for preterm babies.
At a media launch of the project in Lagos, the Executive Director, MTNF, Mrs. Nonny Ugboma explained that the project was part of their contribution to improve access to health care systems and skilled health professionals for pregnant women in Nigeria which have been linked to the high rate of maternal mortality in the country.
Ugboma who quoted a UNICEF statistics that have shown that every single day, Nigeria loses 2,300 under -five children and 145 women of child bearing age lamented that a sizeable number of these deaths are preventable.
“A sizeable number of maternal deaths occur due to lack of access to pre-natal care. So if these soon -to- be mothers had access to proper pre and post natal care, then their deaths may have been averted,” she noted. “We believe that the private sector must work with the government and the public sector to help reduce maternal mortality and ensure that our mothers and children live healthy lives.
This is why we started the MTNF Maternal Ward Support. Through this initiative, we seek to contribute to creating unhindered access to health care.”
Explaining the rationale behind the project, Ugboma said the Foundation invested into the programme in recognition of the fact that maternal, neonatal and child health should be one of highest priorities for the society.
Ugboma further disclosed that the Foundation has so far invested over N18 billion into key projects spread across health, education and economic empowerment.
In her presentation tagged: Maternal & Infant Mortality Challenges in Nigeria, Chief Executive Officer of JNC International, Mrs. Clare Omatseye lamented the unacceptable rate of maternal mortality in the country.
Omatseye who is also the technical partner for the project called on the state governments to ensure proper maintenance of the equipment after installation. She said the public private partnership (PPP) arrangement of the project will help reduce maternal mortality in the country.
While receiving the MOU, the representative of each states, commended MTN for the initiative.
The commissioners who took turns to talk beleived that the outcome of the project will result in reduction of maternal and infant deaths in the country.
The Commissioner for Health Abia State, Dr. John Ahukannah, declared that Abia state will endeavour to fulfil their own part of the agreement by ensuring that the equipment are maintained.
Other state representatives include; Senator Enyim Abaribe from Abia State, Hon. Edim Atah Mgbora, from Akwa-ibom, Hon. Jeribe Agbo, Hon. Hassan Shakaram and Commissioner of Health and Human Services, Kaduna State, Professor Andrew Nok.