Recognising the need to provide support and care for pregnant women and other women of childbearing age, especially those living in marginalised or low-income communities, The Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), led by its Founder-President, Her Excellency Mrs. Toyin Ojora Saraki, partnered with Africa Clean Up Initiative on its finale event for the Beyond Waste Pregnant Women Engagement Workshop.
The Beyond Waste Pregnant Women Engagement Workshop: The Unborn Child Deserves a Better Life is an initiative geared towards engaging pregnant mothers within low-income communities to find out their needs with regards to pregnancy and delivery. In support of this initiative, WBFA, through the platform of its MamaCare Antenatal and Postnatal program, teamed up with Africa Clean Up Initiative to deliver an engaging and insightful antenatal class geared towards equipping the expectant mothers in attendance with much-needed information about how to care for themselves and their unborn babies. With an understanding of the fact that pregnant women are more inclined to engage in health-seeking behaviour, due to the increase in their instinct for care and nurture, WBFA's MamaCare midwives were hands-on, using relevant tools and manuals to help the pregnant women in attendance understand what to expect during pregnancy and delivery, and also how to prepare for their much-expected delivery. They also shared useful tips about how to breastfeed and the importance/health benefits of early and exclusive breastfeeding.
Committed to empowering expectant and new mothers using health-seeking incentives, WBFA donated Mamacare Goody Bags containing essential items useful for the safe delivery and care of mothers and their babies. In addition to this, expectant mothers were introduced to the Knorr Green Food Steps nutritional campaign, receiving iron-fortified Knorr cubes from WBFA's team coutesy of Unilever Nigeria PLC,in order to help the pregnant mothers increase their iron intake. This is because the iron requirement of a woman triples during pregnancy, making it difficult for them to meet the high iron requirement through dietary intake alone. Insufficient iron intake in pregnant women can lead to anemia which is linked to an increased risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, and a higher risk of stillbirth. Iron deficiency in pregnancy does not affect the newborn alone; it also affects the mother, as it is also associated with 1 in 6 maternal deaths. Hence, the iron-fortified Knorr cubes will play a major role in ensuring that the pregnant mothers have a supplementary source of iron in their diet.
Emphasizing on the role of mothers as drivers of change to address nutritional deficiencies and promote health-seeking behaviour, Her Excellency Mrs. Toyin Ojora Saraki further stated: “I believe that if we educate and empower pregnant women by providing them with information that will help them make informed decisions about their health and that of their families, while helping them understand the importance of a nutrient-rich diet, and increasing their iron intake during pregnancy, they will make the relevant and beneficial changes to their diets and drive that change in their families and communities as whole.”
Having a clear understanding of the fact that pregnant women and their babies are most vulnerable during pregnancy and the postpartum period, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa has strategically positioned programs/interventions such the Alaafia Universal Health Coverage Fund (AUHCF) - an initiative that provides pregnant women, new mothers and their children with access to affordable and quality healthcare, geared towards promoting health-seeking behaviour and encouraging mothers to engage the services of skilled birth attendants at birthing facilities during pregnancy and childbirth; and WBFA's Personal Health Records (PHRs ) - which tracks the health of a mother and her child from the early stages of pregnancy to the child’s fifth birthday. The PHRs enable mothers and healthcare workers keep accurate records with regards to the mother and her baby, helping mothers seek the relevant healthcare services on time, while enabling healthcare workers to provide effective advice and treatment, when needed, for improved maternal and child health outcomes.