By Ebunoluwa Sessou

ENDING preventable maternal death must remain at the top of the global agenda. This is the charge given by the President of Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, Engr. Tasiu Sa’ad Gidari-Wadil, FNSE at the 3rd Olutumbi Maduka Annual Lecture, OMAL held in Lagos. 

The president disclosed that it is critical to expand efforts aimed at reducing maternal injury and disability to promote health and well-being, adding that it is fundamental to ensuring all women have access to respectful and high quality maternity care.

The annual lecture was organised by the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria, APWEN, to celebrate the promoter of the engineering profession, Engr. Olutunmbi Joanna Maduka, FNSE.The 3rd edition of the OMAL took a new dimension as the lecture was centred on the need to address issues concerning reduction of maternal mortality through provision of adequate and safe blood.

The annual lecture always coincides with the celebrant’s birthday.  According to him, maternal mortality refers to deaths due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth commonly caused by excessive blood loss, high blood pressure amongst other health-related causes. 

The President of APWEN, Engr. Elizabeth Eterigho, FNSE, FNSChE said the OMAL series can be termed  a professional development lecture series.

She applauded women engineers for the relentless and continued efforts to be the catalyst for advancement of women in the engineering profession towards national and global technological development.Speaking on the theme: Reduction of Maternal, Mortality Through Provision of Adequate and Safe Blood, the guest speaker, Dr. Modupe Olaiya, consultant haematologist, gave an insight into the theme and advised participants on possible solutions to reducing maternal mortality.

According to her, the choice of the lecture is such that would enlighten women on some of the preventable health challenges leading to women’s death. She added that it will help women to focus on one of the ways they can give back to the society. She lamented that hemorrhage remains the leading direct cause of maternal deaths globally.

“This statistic indicates that at least one quarter of maternal deaths can be prevented by rapid access to safe blood transfusions. Bleeding requires prompt access to quality obstetric service. This is not possible if there is inadequate supply of blood, poor access as well as lack of emergency preparedness.Without rapid access to safe blood, a patient goes into irreversible shock by the time blood arrives. The rapid availability and access to safe blood transfusions for patients in need remains a challenge in this part of the world.

She, however, noted that if bleeding has been identified as the major cause of high maternal death, then one of the major ways to reduce it is adequate supply of safe blood Appreciating the women, Engr. Maduka thanked the APWEN, COREN, NSE, among others, for their contributions toward the development of engineering both locally and internationally. 

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