Nigeria: UNICEF Urges Women to Avoid Home Childbirths for Safer Deliveries

Nigeria: UNICEF Urges Women to Avoid Home Childbirths for Safer Deliveries

By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria

In a bid to improve maternal and child health outcomes, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has issued a stern warning to women against opting for home childbirths, citing the lack of necessary facilities to address potential complications during labor.

At a recent Media Dialogue held in Gombe, UNICEF Health Officer Oluseyi Olosunde emphasized the critical importance of delivering babies in healthcare facilities equipped to handle childbirth emergencies. Olosunde underscored the alarming statistic that six out of ten child deliveries in Nigeria occur at home, often overseen by unskilled birth attendants, thereby posing significant risks to both mothers and infants.

This trend, according to Olosunde, contributes to the persistent challenges in reducing maternal and child morbidity rates across the country. The prevalence of home births highlights the urgent need for comprehensive strategies to promote safe childbirth practices and ensure access to quality maternal healthcare services.

Echoing UNICEF’s concerns, Chief of UNICEF Bauchi Field Office Dr. Tushar Rane stressed the pivotal role of gender equality and women’s well-being in fostering resilient economies and sustainable development. Rane commended the commendable efforts of community-based women in the health sector, particularly in Bauchi, Gombe, and Taraba states, through initiatives such as the mama2mama program.

Rane emphasized that women serve as invaluable advocates and educators within their communities, raising awareness about crucial health issues and encouraging community members to seek medical attention when necessary. With the right knowledge and support, women can play instrumental roles in driving community health initiatives, including vaccination campaigns, thereby contributing to improved maternal and child health outcomes.

The call to discourage home childbirths aligns with broader efforts to address systemic challenges in maternal and child healthcare delivery and promote gender equity in health programming. UNICEF’s advocacy underscores the need for concerted action at both the individual and institutional levels to ensure that every woman has access to safe and quality maternal healthcare services, ultimately safeguarding the well-being of mothers and their newborns.

As stakeholders continue to collaborate in advancing maternal and child health agendas, it is imperative to prioritize investments in healthcare infrastructure, capacity building, and community engagement initiatives to facilitate safer childbirth experiences and reduce preventable maternal and infant deaths nationwide. By empowering women and fostering supportive healthcare environments, Nigeria can move closer to achieving its goals of maternal and child health equity and universal access to healthcare for all.

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