The African Development and Empowerment Foundation in partnership with the community birth attendants’ initiative recently launched AfricanDEF Community Mobile Diagnostic Services.
This stemmed from our understanding of the difficult access pregnant women at rural communities have to diagnostic services to facilitate early detection of danger signs in pregnancy, which from experience is a major contributing factor to the enormous number of death among women of child bearing age in Nigeria.
“We started by organizing training for community birth attendants on pregnancy care and identification of danger signs in pregnant women using WHO guidelines and K4health toolkits. But while visiting the various delivery centers being managed by these birth attendants to promote family planning among pregnant women in preparation for delivery, we realized there is more to be done”, said Dr Victoria Adepoju, AfricanDEF’s Executive Director.
According to her, “most women in the rural communities would have to spend three times the money for investigations on transportation to the private laboratories in the cities to get tests done, leading to reluctance and therefore lack of investigations among pregnant women”.
Women tend to use more health care services than men, and often they are faced with tough decisions when it comes to paying for their medical needs, financial constrain is a huge factor in the rural community.
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that women are 33 percent more likely to see a doctor than men and twice as likely to visit health care professionals for things like annual exams and preventive services. Additionally, medication patterns differ significantly between men and women.
Nigeria has one of the world’s worst maternal mortality rates with 814 deaths per 100,000 live births. This is largely due to the fact that only 35 percent of births in Nigeria are assisted by skilled health personnel, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund. In other words, more pregnant women are delivered by community birth attendants than those delivered in hospitals where ultrasound and laboratory services are able to help in identifying pregnant women at high risk and would require referral and special care.
Providing the essential laboratory investigations and ultrasound services in the rural community at a reduced cost will not only help in identifying women with at risk pregnancies, it will also aid prompt diagnosis and referral, thereby ultimately reducing maternal mortality in the country.
Rural or urban, everyone wants to live a happy and fulfilled life – growing up in a beautiful serene environment, venturing into vocations, going to school or both, getting married and having kids safely without having to die in the process.
Constantly being haunted by the persistent subconscious anxiety of knowing that if you ever got seriously injured, if anything goes wrong during delivery, if a woman throws a fit or lose consciousness, the closest hospital that is over an hour away is not the best for any society. This is the rationale behind the AfricanDEF Community Mobile Diagnostic Services.
For partnership/further inquiries, send an email to drvickie[at]africandef[dot]org