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News from the Wellbeing Foundation Africa - May 2019

Dear Partners, Colleagues and Friends,

As events around the world to mark the International Day of the Midwife draw to a close, I wanted to thank you for your support and share our work from Nigeria this week.

Most of you will have seen the superb advocacy this week from the International Confederation of Midwives. As their Global Goodwill Ambassador, I was delighted to take part in a Twitter Chat with ICM President Franka Cadée to discuss midwives, their role as defenders of women’s rights, and the global priorities for midwives themselves. You can catch up on the chat here.

At the Wellbeing Foundation Africa we hosted a symposium with midwives and partners in Lagos on the official theme of International Day of the Midwife this year: Midwives as Defenders of Women’s Rights; our CEO Mrs Amy Oyekunle attended a 3-day workshop for members of the technical working group on Ending Child Marriage in Nigeria; while MamaCare midwives were on the radio waves and of course continuing with their antenatal and postnatal classes.

Please read on below for further details – and thank you again for your support.

With very best wishes,

Toyin Saraki


Wellbeing Foundation Africa marks International Day of the Midwife with multi-stakeholder Call to Action; ‘Whole System Support’ Targets needed for Front-line Healthcare Workers

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa this week hosted a multi-stakeholder symposium to mark the International Day of the Midwife at the Pearlwort Hotel in Lagos. The resulting call to action was supported and adopted by the Lagos State Ministry of Health's Director of Nursing and Midwifery, the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNMS), the Lagos University Teaching Hospital School of Nursing and Midwifery, Save The Children, Lagos State Primary Health Services, the Director of Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Metta, Lagos, the Nigeria Army Medical Corp and midwives drawn from across Local Government Associations in Lagos. 
Participants called upon policy-makers, specifically from the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives and the Head of Civil Services, to accept and delineate midwifery as a profession distinct from nursing and to establish a formal career structure for midwifery that would equip them with improved training techniques, ensure their safety and security, and provide greater incentives. It was agreed that such a structure will help Nigeria to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), boost the morale of midwives and encourage professional interest in midwifery.
Toyin Saraki, as Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives, delivered her keynote speech on the theme of ‘Enabling and Elevating Midwives with Whole System Support as Defenders of Women's Rights; Every Woman, Every Child, Every Time’. Following the event Mrs Saraki commented:

“I was delighted to mark the International Day of the Midwife with midwifery institution leaders, regulatory agencies, public and private health facilities midwifery directors at the Wellbeing Foundation Africa's Midwifery Symposium.”

“In my keynote address, I shared findings from national and global research on midwives’ voices and midwives’ realities on improving working conditions and the delivery of midwifery services.”

“I also appreciated the support of the ACT Foundation and Access Bank in enabling our MamaCare midwifery-led Antenatal and Postnatal Education Program to reach twenty more medical facilities in Lagos State.”
“As allies of midwives, it is incumbent upon us to advocate for the whole-system support to enable and elevate midwives as the key defenders of women’s rights – in Nigeria and around the world.”
“Midwives are champions of women’s rights; but can only be effective if their rights are also secure. This includes the right for every midwife—and all health workers—to decent work and a safe and dignified workplace. Saving lives does not mean a midwife should risk her own. Sadly, as we all know, in the past year we have lost selfless Nigerian midwives. Too often midwives also suffer ‘burnout’ – from long hours carrying out a complex role, combined with the lack of basic infrastructure or professional support to deliver high-quality care. Many rural midwives represent the sole point of access to health care in remote and under-served areas. It is our first duty to keep the care-givers safe.” 

You can read the full communiqué here.


MamaCare and Radio Outreach

This International Midwife and Nurses Week, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s MamaCare Classes took place in healthcare facilities across Lagos, Kwara, Osun, Kaduna and Abuja, with the midwives focusing on women’s rights, the core MamaCare curriculum and hand hygiene. Our midwives have also shared short videos of their thoughts about the beauty of midwifery, and the joy they derive from contributing to the health and wellbeing of mothers. View some of them on our Instagram page here.

MamaCare midwife Mrs Eunice Akhigbe this week visited Wazobia FM, a leading radio station in Lagos State, to highlight the importance of midwifery in defending the rights of women. She was interviewed by “Lolo 1 of Wazobia FM”, and shared the work being done by the Wellbeing Foundation Africa in championing, protecting and defending the health of women in Nigeria and around the world.


Ending Child Marriage in Nigeria

WBFA CEO Amy Oyekunle attended a 3-day workshop for members of the technical working group on Ending Child Marriage in Nigeria.  The retreat, held in Kaduna State, was organised by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and supported by Save the Children, with the aim of strengthening a co-ordinated approach towards ending child marriage in Nigeria. As a member of the technical working group, the Wellbeing Foundation is committed to lending its expertise in support of this endeavour.

Following the workshop, Mrs Oyekunle commented:

“I welcomed this action by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to galvanize all stakeholders to commit, take action and report on strategic interventions to end child marriage in Nigeria. Nigeria has the 3rd highest number of child brides in the world and is ranked 11th globally in prevalence: this is unacceptable.”

“At the Wellbeing Foundation we advocate against child marriage by teaching both boys and girls about their rights, fostering education and greater inclusion of girls’ voices through the Foundation’s Adolescent Skills and Drills PSHE Programme. In addition to adding our knowledge to Nigeria’s working group, we advocate in schools and communities to keep girls in school.”

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