Women in rural areas often have their babies with the light of a dim torch light, increasing the chances of maternal and infant deaths, as the rural areas lack electricity to aid the safe delivery of a child and protect the life of the mother.
Deborah Ezra, a member of the Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, NANNM, lamented the poor situation under which the women in rural areas have their newborns and the dire conditions under which the midwives work.
At the celebration of the International Midwives Day on Monday at the Rockview Royal Hotel in Wuse 2, Abuja, Ms. Ezra said on too many occasions she handled deliveries using the torch light of a mobile phone.
She listed power supply as one of the various major challenges in her work as a mid wife in various rural areas where she has been posted to serve.
Mrs. Ezra called on government at all levels to invest in midwives as a frontline to achieving the Millennium Development Goal 4 and 5, which are to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health respectively by 2015.
Nigeria currently has one of the highest cases of maternal mortality in the world with about 142 deaths daily according to official statistics.
The country leader of an international non governmental organisation that promotes sexual and reproductive health rights of women, Ipas-Nigeria, Ejike Obi, praised midwives and encouraged them to key into family planning programs in the country stating that Nigeria still depends on midwives to improve maternal, child and newborn health in the country.
Representing Nigeria Urban Reproductive Health Initiative, Mojushoola Odeku, urged midwives to brush up on family planning and counseling. She also advised that young midwives seek retired midwives to learn from their wealth of experience.
Ms. Odeku said family planning is the bedrock of midwifery and it helps to reduce child birth by 25 percent.
The Minister of Health, Mohammed Pate, who attended the event, said his ministry will do all it can “to ensure that the quality of health care is improved in the country”.
He called on midwives in the country to have passion for the job they do.
Mr. Pate encouraged women to take up the profession of midwifery and develop interest in maternal advocacy at all levels.
The President of NANNM, Abdulrafiu Adeniji, called on the Federal Government to address the challenges faced by midwives in carrying out their duties especially in rural areas.