In recognition of over 3.3 million Nigerians who have been displaced by violence and hundreds of babies delivered in cramped and unsafe IDP camps across the nation, WBFA provided expectant mothers at the IDP camp in Wassa, Abuja with high quality antenatal education, as well as goody bags that had soaps, deodorant antiperspirants and body lotions.
The WBFA Team, led by its Abuja Programmes Manager, Dr Yewande Ayoola as well as its Lagos Midwifery Programmes Officer, Mrs Eunice Akhigbe, in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Abuja Operations office representatives, visited the Camp to provide antenatal classes for expectant mothers. The very excited women gathered in large numbers to welcome the team and attend the very first antenatal classes within the camp. At this visit, the chairman of the camp, Mr Hamman Abubakar stated it is a welcome development as expectant mothers have to travel more than half an hour to access such services.
The UNFPA 2015 State of the World’s Population report found that settings of conflict, displacement and natural disasters account for 3 in 5 preventable maternal deaths, 45% of neonatal deaths and 53% of under-five deaths globally. As a result of the disruption caused by humanitarian crises, many pregnant women and girls are giving birth without assistance from a skilled birth attendant (SBA), or without access to quality antenatal care in IDP camps.
Antenatal education is a crucial component of antenatal care that should be offered to all women and their partners. WBFA’s antenatal education programme, delivered by midwives and doctors, is a crucial health intervention; as a woman’s need for information and willingness to make changes to her lifestyle is at its peak during pregnancy (Schrader McMillan et al, 2009). WBFA’s classes are delivered in a respectful environment that helps alleviate fears about pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding among women, as well as provide them with knowledge about their health, taking into account the local context.
In her acclaimed Huffington Post column, the Founder-President of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Her Excellency Mrs. Toyin Saraki wrote about the growing health crisis in IDP and refugee camps around the world, driven by the largest mass migration since World War II. She stated “We need peace so that newborns born in war can know happiness, safety, and humanity at its best – not its worst. Until then, we must do all that we can to protect the health of the most vulnerable – the mothers, children, and newborns that have been displaced. It is in this protection that we will find salvation.”[The Wellbeing Foundation Africa]
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