MSF Improves Maternal Health in Rural Nigeria

© KC Nwakalor/MSF

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has provided extensive medical care in Jigawa State, Nigeria since 2008. MSF’s interventions aim to reduce maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality by improving access to emergency obstetric care. They have expanded from fistula repair at Jahun General Hospital to providing comprehensive emergency services there.

They reported performing 6000 surgeries to repair vesicovaginal fistulas (VVF), a complication from obstructed labor that causes urinary incontinence. MSF has also facilitated 90,000 deliveries and 18,000 caesarean sections in Jigawa. In total, MSF has treated 143,000 women and 19,000 newborns in the hospital, in collaboration with the state Ministry of Health.

MSF also supports basic emergency obstetric care at four primary health centers in the state. The Jigawa health commissioner has pledged to further expand comprehensive obstetric care and revitalize primary care to lower maternal mortality.

High rates of maternal mortality in Jigawa are linked to limited access to antenatal care and emergency services during delivery. MSF and the health ministry are working to increase utilization of these services through community engagement. Officials have expressed commitment to improving women’s health in Jigawa. Continued collaboration between MSF, government partners, and communities will be key to empowering pregnant women and enabling safer deliveries.

In summary, MSF has made major contributions to maternal health in Jigawa over the past 15 years. Ongoing partnerships and government initiatives aim to build on this progress by making obstetric care more widely available. Increased utilization of antenatal and emergency obstetric services is essential to reducing preventable maternal deaths in the state.

Read the full article in Punch.

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