The Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) and I have long known the invaluable role that midwives play in changing health outcomes for women and children. When we began our journey to improve maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) in 2004, we placed midwives at the centre of WBFA programs and policies.
From our early intervention, the renovation and rehabilitation of the dilapidated Childrens Specialist Hospital, Centre Igboro, donation of children’s isolation ward, playroom and midwives and nurses station, ambulance and water sanitation and hygiene services rectification, and our first community assistance program, the Indigent Medical Fund providing payment for essential maternity and child health services delivered to needy patients at state and federal government health facilities in the Kwara State, to donation of pulse oximeters and childcare crèche at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital. Through our 2011 Alaafia Universal Health Care Fund providing Community Health Insurance Capacitation Grants for 5000 health-seeking subscribers annually, and thereby guaranteeing remuneration for the medical workers that serve them, we have continued to support the recognition, quality improvement and respect for midwives and nurses as medical professionals in Kwara State.
In 2010, we advocated for the passage of the Kwara State Safe Maternity Services Bill – the first of its kind in Nigeria – that guaranteed funding for midwives – matching this in 2016 Respectful Maternity Care Charter Program in partnership with the White Ribbon Alliance. We did this because Nigeria has a long tradition of midwifery, with a vibrant, active community of dedicated midwives that have an unparalleled understanding of community needs and community sensitivities, and we worked closely with them to develop our interventions. We learnt so much from Nigeria’s midwives, and we are grateful for their continued insight and support of our Mamacare360 Antenatal and Postnatal Education Program and Wellbeing For Water Sanitation and Hygiene Programs in Kwara State, as well as Lagos, Osun, and Kaduna States, and the Nation’s Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
In April 2015, as members and commitment makers of the United Nations Secretary General’s Every Woman Every Child Initiative, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa was delighted to facilitate the construction, establishment and donation of the ultra-modern Eruku Maternity Referral Centre to the Kwara State Government, in collaboration with global and national partners – bringing the highest global standard of specialist maternity referral care services to Kwara State – in conjunction with state of the art medical equipment and energy-efficient solar-sourced power generation.
As we mark the 2020 International Day of the Midwife on 5th May, alongside World Hygiene Day, and international Day of The Nurse on 12th May, the Wellbeing Foundation continues to support Midwives and Nurses in Kwara State through our strategic and innovative Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care programming to improve the availability and quality of maternity services in Kwara State, donating 11 simulation skills laboratories at public hospitals and delivering quality improvement skills to 600 master-trainers and beneficial impact to 62,800 medical workers in 16 Local Government Areas of the State. Throughout the Year of the Midwife and Nurse, and this Decade Of Action And Delivery towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, we continue to clap for midwives and nurses as essential carers, and applaud key medical workers with hand hygiene in health facilities and WASH.