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H.E Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki: “Watershed UNICEF report shows urgent need for more midwives to prevent newborn deaths”

20th February 2018

H.E Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki has reacted to the release of today’s UNICEF report: “Every Child Alive” by calling for Governments worldwide to commit to a dramatic increase in the number of midwives to save millions of lives. The UNICEF report, which analyses newborn deaths worldwide, found that of the ten highest-risk countries, eight are in sub-Saharan Africa. Upon the release of the report, Her Excellency Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki commented:

Founder- President, WBFA- Her Excellency, Mrs. Toyin Saraki

“Five newborn babies die every minute across the world – meaning 2.6 million tragedies every year. A shocking 80% of these deaths are preventable.  We must therefore act urgently to implement the measures that we know will enable countries to save millions of lives.”

“Today’s report clearly shows that a lack of access to qualified midwives is a key factor in high infant mortality. At Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) our “MamaCare” midwives work closely with mothers at antenatal and postnatal classes to ensure that they have the knowledge and environment to keep their babies safe and healthy. Our mothers know that 80% of newborn deaths can be prevented by access to skilled midwives, clean water, breastfeeding within the first hour and good nutrition.”

“Japan, which is the safest place to be born, has shown that a Universal Health Care system combined with good child health records, should also be key priorities. In Nigeria –  which accounted for 9% of all global infant deaths in 2016 -the WBFA designed the Personal Health Record (PHR), a book which stores all medical records of each mother and child, and is therefore a ground-breaking health resource developed for the purpose of ensuring effective delivery, evaluation and monitoring of sustainable, effective public health strategies in maternal newborn and child health. The PHR empowers women to provide, analyze and follow-up on her own data, not just for health, but also for civil registrations and vital statistics.”

“UNICEF’s report today must serve as a watershed moment. It demonstrates how imperative it is for Governments to embrace midwives, Universal Health Coverage and good health records. We know what works and the opportunity is there to save millions of lives. The result of inaction is unthinkable.”

Her Excellency Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki is Wife of the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Founder-President, Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) and Inaugural Global Goodwill Ambassador, International Confederation of Midwives (ICM).


The full report can be read here:

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