Ahead of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s participation at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, H.E. Mrs Toyin Saraki, Founder- President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa on Saturday, 18th January in Malaga, Spain delivered a keynote speech on the need for urgency when implementing inventions to reduce maternal mortality to 75 senior employees of Ferrings Pharmaceuticals, including the full Executive Committee, Senior Vice Presidents, and General Managers from key markets.
During an interview with Curt McDaniel, Chief Legal Officer at Ferrings, Mrs Saraki discussed the destructive impact of post-partum Haemorrhage on women and families in Nigeria and across Sub-Saharan Africa; delivering improved and accessible health systems as a priority; and why health information in the hands of mothers is key to improving maternal outcomes.
“Although medicines are only part of the solution to strengthening health systems, they are a critical component. As a pharmaceutical group I am delighted that you have found a way to make certain maternal healthcare interventions affordable. However, I believe you should also see it as your responsibly to deliver these solutions to the people who need them the most. Through it was our political leaders that promised to deliver the sustainable development goals by 2030, we must all part of efforts, particularly in the private sector, to deliver them.” Mrs Saraki said.
Nearly 20% of all global maternal deaths happen in Nigeria. In 2015, the country’s estimated maternal mortality ratio was over 800 maternal deaths per 100 000 live births, with approx. 58 000 maternal deaths during that year1, a leading cause of which is post-partum haemorrhage.
“Post-partum haemorrhage or excessive bleeding after birth is a sudden, terrifying condition, that thousands of women in my country die unnecessarily from. Maternal mortality is not only a colossal waste of life but remains a constant, and impenetrable barrier to development. When you are making strategic decisions about the feasibility of delivering certain life-saving medications to low and middle income countries, I urge you to build into your calculations the cost of a human life. We have the technology, we have the knowledge, we have the medicines, and we now need to urgently deliver the healthcare.”
“Health systems are primarily made up of people. When seeking to build strong healthcare, we must not neglect the importance of creating effective health-seeking behaviour. We know that some risks which increase maternal mortality can be reduced through a strong relationship between a mother and midwife. For example, a woman may perceive that she is in better control of the delivery process at home. A midwife can act as a strong advocate for facility-based delivery, meaning should a mother experience a complication she is more likely to access live-saving care in time.”
“As we commence the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, I am encouraged that over 250,000 women have taken part in our midwifery services led MamaCare programme, Antenatal and Postnatal classes, delivered by a team of 55 midwives to mothers in healthcare facilities across Kwara, Ogun, Osun, Lagos, Kaduna states in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory. Our MamaCare mothers are now achieving the now standard number of antenatal eight visits recommended by the WHO, and we are yet to lose a single one to death in childbirth.”
As Wellbeing Foundation Africa Founder-President, Mrs Saraki is a Global Advocate for Water Sanitation and Hygiene in Health Care Facilities, who also serves as Global Goodwill Ambassador to the International Confederation of Midwives, Family Planning Champion to the United Nations Population Fund, and International Steering Committee member of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). This week at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos Mrs Saraki will be undertaking key advocacy activities to mobilise and unite whole system support for Midwifery, a frontline profession critical towards achieving healthy futures for childbearing women. The theme of this year’s annual meeting is: Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World, which will focus on renewing the concept of stakeholder capitalism to overcome income inequality, societal division and the climate crisis.
 WHO Maternal health in Nigeria: generating information for action. Available at: https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/maternal-health-nigeria/en/