How cellphones reduced maternal deaths in Nigeria

tags : maternal mortality, Nigeria

Ondo State in western Nigeria is leading a two-year revolution through the astute use of communication and technology. By distributing cell phones to poor pregnant women in rural areas, it has reduced maternal and infant mortality by 30%. While lobbyists and nations with population agendas are busy bandying doubtful statistics about the causes of maternal and child deaths, officials from this little state of 3.4 million people, located 100km from Lagos, discovered why so many women were dying.

Their findings: the number of women who were delivering babies at the basic health centres was low and many were dying. Why? When labor contractions start, pregnant mothers do not get quickly enough to health centres and they can sometimes die from excessive bleeding or other labor complications.

The solution: provide the mothers with cell phones so that they stay connected to health care providers who monitor them regular and provide routine counseling. If there is an emergency, they can be quickly evacuated to health centres with experienced personnel instead of home self-help or untrained traditional caregivers.

The Ondo project, called the Abiye Safe Motherhood Project and the Mother & Child Hospital Initiatives, has been running for two years. The Ondo commissioner for health, Dr Dayo Adeyanju, has says that the project has been so successful that 1,220 babies were delivered in a single year with only one mortality reported. This he says is a record 100 deaths per 100,000 live births in a country that has a national mortality ratio of 545 per 100,000 live births.

Adeyanju believes that at this rate the Millenium Development Goals 4 and 5 would be achievable here by 2015, and that his state of Ondo would be the “saving grace” for Nigeria. Many predicted that Nigeria would not achieve this before 2095.

For me, this is a lesson in development efforts inspired by a sincere will to help the needy and backed by scientific data. It shows up NGO bureaucrats who take money from Western sponsors, cruise around urban Lagos in their four-wheel drives, and dish up quarterly cut-and-paste reports to their bosses. They parrot family-and-population unfriendly slogans -- not because they have proof, but because those are the terms in vogue.

Eugene Ohu lives in Lagos. He is the editor of Harambee.

This article is published by Eugene Ohu and MercatorNet.com under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it or translate it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation. Commercial media must contact us for permission and fees. Some articles on this site are published under different terms.

comments powered by Disqus

Search Harambee

 Subscribe to Harambee
rss RSS feed of posts

 From MercatorNet's home page

Five steps Malaysia Airlines must take after its second disaster in four months
18 Jul 2014
Inaction could sink the company.

Celebrity swimmer Ian Thorpe comes out
15 Jul 2014
In a tell-all interview, one of Australia's most famous athletes admits that he is gay. Is he?

All wired up: the contraceptive chip
15 Jul 2014
The Gates Foundation has funded an implantable device which can be controlled remotely.

Will the unmasking of abusers be a catalyst for change?
14 Jul 2014
With Rolf Harris in jail, perhaps people will reconsider the beauty of Christian morality.

Gaza situation report
14 Jul 2014
Hamas and Israel are playing a deadly game with no clear outcome.

Pope Benedict retirement, maternal mortality, MINT, BRIC, Nigeria, economic growth, african community life, good news, sistine chapel, suffering, dreams from my father, diversity, ethnicity, kenyan tribe, history, westgate, terror, ushahidi, crowdsourcing, images of africa, Obama Africa visit, desertification, Cardinal Turkson, Coltan, PlayStation, Natural Resources, lists, barack obama family, economics, african values, empathy, Traditional kings, New York Times, africa rising, #bringbackourgirls, Kenya, Ghana, e-book, affordable education, kenya, africa, china trade, chinese president xi, partnerships, foreign direct investment, china, united states, safe abortion, safe motherhood, saaf, w.i.e.r.d, close-knit family, childbirth, maternal health, slum, funerals, kenya, terror, islam, Al-Shabaab, westgate, Rwanda, life, down syndrome, makoko, same-sex marriage, Nigeria, hunger, agriculture, food security, Ihub, Chinua Achebe, Africa institutions, Uzoamaka Maduka, the american reader, literary culture, media, African Pope, Ibo, homosexuality, demographic winter, love for life, power, leadership, democracy, robert mugabe, innovation, poverty and technology, rebasing, nigeria, economic growth, Harambee, africa cult of ancestors, Communicating Africa, mail, al qaeda, french military, intervention, neo-colonialism, obituaries, east africa community, kenya, innovation, Things fall apart, aid, gleneagles, tony blair, bono, bob geldof, demography, heroes, Pope Benedict XVI, malaria, madonna, malawi, aid, corruption, Africa, reproductive health, faith, fertility, African children, sos children, stories, books, maasai, masai, brand, Harambee USA, china, africa, Conclave 2013, papabile, tragedy, Harambee awards, African Union, Organization of African Unity, security, poverty, development, Nelson Mandela, forgiveness, reconciliation, Nigerian Christians, Boko Haram, silicon valley, kenya, art, africa story, infrastructure, history of africa, media bias, The Economist, African women legacy, true feminism, reconciliation, kenyatta, large families, africa, internet jobs, best of, tech hubs, malaria, insecticide, resistance, MercatorNet, information technology, health policy,
Follow MercatorNet
Sections and Blogs
Family Edge
Sheila Reports
Reading Matters
Demography Is Destiny
Conniptions (the editorial)
our ideals
our People
Mercator who?
partner sites
audited accounts
New Media Foundation
Suite 12A, Level 2
5 George Street
North Strathfield NSW 2137

+61 2 8005 8605
skype: mercatornet
© New Media Foundation | powered by Encyclomedia | designed by Elleston