When maternal death occasioned by medical negligence occur, three categories of people with different perspectives are likely to emerge.

The first category is likely to see the death as ‘natural’, wrap it up for quick burial, mourn and move on with life. To this category of people, the concept of right is lost on them and destiny is emphasized.

Their slogan? “God knows best.”

The second category is aware of their rights but unwilling to take action. To them, any benefit attached to exercising their right is coming a tad late.

Their question? “Will my taking action bring her back to life?”

The third and final category of people knows their rights, are willing to take action but just don’t know how to go about it. If they are fortunate enough to know someone in the traditional media, their stories get blown up but like everything without passion and sales as a major consideration, the stories die a natural death. The relatives, disillusioned, reverts to category one’s slogan of “God knows best.”

Their consolation? “God will fight for us”

From the lack of knowledge about basic rights to the lack of courage to speak up in the face of overwhelming silence and the unavailability or ineffectiveness of grievance channels and procedures, challenges related to medical negligence have continued to ‘help’ maternal death rates remain on the increase in Nigeria. While identifying these challenges may seem easy, overcoming them has not come easy.

Teaching and advising individuals and relatives of victims about their rights, ensuring that individuals understand that the action of one can save thousands of lives and the setting up of an organization to provide justice support services for victims at no cost to them are some of the strategies I have employed to overcome these challenges. Last week, I was able to assist a victim’s family file a Five Billion Naira suit (about 32 Million dollars) against a negligent hospital. In cases like this, it’s not so much for the money but the deterrent capacity of the action. Health service providers must live up to their responsibilities!

On social media such as Facebook and Twitter, I use the stories of victims to drive home the reality of maternal deaths and make people understand that inaction is not an option.

On PulseWire, I see the opportunity to learn, motivate and voice out. For victims who do not know their rights, I learn innovative ways of teaching them and get support too. For instance, I have met Marissa who is working with me to create a theme for a drama competition amongst secondary school students to promote maternal rights and welfare. For those who will rather not take action, this platform gives me an opportunity to motivate them and for those who want to take action but do not know how, with PulseWire, I can voice out on their behalf.

All around me, in my fight against maternal mortality, I see possibilities, never challenges…

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Challenges and Solutions to Creating Change.

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Comments

I was reading this and you know a series of images were moving before my eyes. That is the power of a good story, it helps one see the unseen.

I congratulate you on the lawsuit you filed. That a great step ahead in getting someone justice.Keep it up and my love will add to others'!

Stella Paul Twitter: @stellasglobe

This is amazing! It makes me so proud to call you friend. You have made so clear the reasons victim-families and victim-communities appear to do so little in the face of what is such a tragedy! I am so grateful that you are so passionate about this, and that you are able to inspire action among families affected by preventable maternal mortality!!

Much power to your voice & your work!!

marissa - (i've sent you a private message as well!)

"I am the flicker, flame, butterfly ablaze who wants to fly in search of mythical rainbows beyond the rain." ~ Ana Castillo

Good work dear sister.

I add my voice to yours to say poverty is the major reason for inaction and then 'who do you know?' syndrome in our society makes people loose hope in taking up cases. Pro bono activities are dieing down among the civil society organizations hence nobody wants to assist indigent persons get justice. I am happy good spirited people like you are here to fight for the voiceless, challenges not withstanding. I say once again, keep up the good work.

Celine

Thank you for your comment Celine. I agree with you that probono activities are dying down here but we must understand that some people's hope and justice is tied to our taking action! It's not been easy but I know it is worth it.

This is a great piece, for so many reasons. You're a great storyteller, and I love your positivity!

I feel so fortunate that you are here with us, as a bold, active woman-- making change happen in Nigeria, and making connections globally.

Thanks! Keep carrying your light! Scott

Scott Beck

Peju my dear! You have said it well and delivered it perfectly... I cannot help but go through this journey with you..Your fight for against maternal mortality.. Kudos Girlfriend!

I do not aim for Perfection; Just excellence!

Thank you very much for your comment. I'm glad you know we are in this fight together. Can't wait for you to return from the moon..There is a lot of work to be done. Btwn, hope your dancing lesson is going on fine :-)

When we go to the hospital we are putting our lives in the medical personnel's hands and they should consider that very seriously. It is really not a good thing when people bungle up where human lives are concerned. they might pay but that won't bring our loved ones back, but you go gal, make them cough up until they start performing as they should.I wish you had a way of addressing them directly and highlight the public's concern.

Thank you for your comments Carlotta but you will agree with me that nothing changes a man and makes him more careful than knowing there are heavy consequences for his action! Although actions do not bring back loved ones, they save a thousand more women. Presently, I'm looking `to collaborate with the Nigerian Medical Council to address this problem as well as organize seminars and workshops for healthcare service providers.

Maternal deaths are prevalent in certain pockets in India as well and women need more women like you to fight the negligence of health services. The three positions we take has also been stated well, working for sustainable solutions is hard work.

Adepeju,

You are a wonderful advocate for women and their families when they are at their most vulnerable. I love the calm logic you are using in your work, educating people as you go along, giving them choice. Choice is power.

Keep it up -- very inspiring! Frances

Adepeju,

You are a wonderful advocate for women and their families when they are at their most vulnerable. I love the calm logic you are using in your work, educating people as you go along, giving them choice. Choice is power.

Keep it up -- very inspiring! Frances

Hello Adepeju,

Great article. As is said at times, a patient's recovery is mostly dependent on how he perceives his situation as opposed to the real problem. So as we can clearly see - perception is 90% the battle. Seeing possibilities as opposed to challenges provides enthusiasm to effectively pursue change. Continue using whatever means necessary.

Regards,

You are right Tawjna. Seeing possibilities provides enthusiasm to effectively pursue change. When i talk to people about my cause and I'm out on the field working, most people comment to the effect that I'm a very passionate person. The truth is being passionate comes from seeing possibilities. Thank you again Tawjna

Your energy and commitment to women's rights shine through in this piece. I am so glad that you are there for the women of your country and that you are helping others to learn their rights and stand up for themselves and others!

I love how you write. I can feel your passion and personality shine through.

Thanks for highlighting the cultural beliefs, our societies quite often hide behind these beliefs as a way of not doing anything. Something similar is that karma will take care of it.

For the most part certain things can be allowed to pass but not when situations can be avoided.

Keep up the good fight my sister.

J

Hey sis,

Thank you for your comment. Missing your posts already. When are you writing a new story? I'm really looking forward to reading about the Caribbean :-)

Hey,

Just when you think hardly anyone notices you get an email like this that encourages you to continue. Thank you for you kind words. I do hope that my written expression moves more towards the quality of yours and I will be posting soon. I have a few things I would like to share for feedback from the ladies so will do so within the next week or so.

Best,

Juliette