From speaking up against abortion laws as the lead advocate of my university debate team to heading the human rights department of a law firm, my desire to rise up for women, touch lives and change humanity made me establish an organization to feed my passion of saving future women from maternal deaths, getting justice for victims of maternal death occasioned by medical negligence and helping Nigeria meet the 2015 MDG5 goal of reducing maternal mortality by 75%.
Sitting at my table early Tuesday morning and reflecting on a few maternal death cases, I came to the realization of certain grim facts.
Grim fact Number One; Favoritism and nepotism is not only alive but very present in our healthcare system.
When Olujuwura died in June 2011, one of the doctors, upon discovering that Olujuwura’s elder sister was his classmate in school walked up to her and said “if I had known Olujuwura was your sister, I would have done my best for her.” Are you still wondering why pregnant women find out if anyone knows anyone who works at the hospital she is scheduled to deliver? Are you asking yourself what hopes lies for the pregnant woman who knows no one just like OluJuwura? It is to this irresponsible gamble of fate by healthcare providers I say NO!
Grim fact Number two; Depending on your approach, “justice” can be unjust and truly ‘’blind.’’
“Justice” came for Chiwendu eight years after her death due to a Cesarean operation that went bad. In disciplining their negligent colleague, the disciplinary committee of the Nigerian Medical Association suspended the negligent doctor from practicing for a “lengthy” period of three months. Are you still wondering why people are reluctant to seek justice when aggrieved? It is to address such hope killing issues that I live!
Grim fact Number 3: Talking without action gets us nowhere. At best we run in circles!
When Motunrayo died in 2009, everyone expressed anger at her death caused by delay in getting medical attention. Moturayo travelled several kilometers to arrive at the hospital at 6am, suffered series of convulsions and waited till 5:50pm before being wheeled to the theatre due to the absence of qualified anaesthetists. Today, all is calm and life has moved on. Are you still wondering why maternal death rates are on the increase in Africa? It is such against delay in medical intervention that I stand up and take action!
I aim to get justice for the woman who died yesterday, who will die tonight and the one who will still die tomorrow due the irresponsibility of healthcare officers, their inaction and their negligence. I fight to see a change in perception and apathy of citizens towards seeking justice.
I want to see a community fully aware of their basic rights and ready to tackle challenges. I want to see women walk into the hospital with smiles and not terror of the unknown; I want to see healthcare services rendered to pregnant women without delay, I want to see confidence restored in the healthcare sector; I want to see referral services improved. I want to see every single woman LIVE giving life…
Becoming a VOF correspondent will give me the opportunity of meeting with other women who have succeeded in raising awareness for their community and amplifying their voice for change. It will offer me the uncommon opportunity of relating experience, developing ideas, brushing up old strategies and discovering new ones to help my community. I will be learning, impacting and sharing knowledge as well as drawing strength and courage from others. Sometimes zeal comes to low ebb, courage seems to count for nothing, the funds are nowhere and one just feels like giving up. In rare moments like this, a lifting can go a long way.
All through our journey in life, I have come to realize that one is either a passenger or a pilot, the choice lies with us. Today, I chose to be a pilot for my community, not just a speaker but an actor.
What about you?eMagazine: Maternal Health