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It’s no longer news that Nigeria has a high rate of maternal mortality and this high rate is second to India in the world according to the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) records.  Studies have shown that there are a lot of social, cultural and medical factors associated to maternal deaths. Research has shown that the major medical factors associated with maternal mortality in Nigeria are: Hemorrhage, eclampsia, obstructed labor, sepsis, complications of abortion amongst others  while  some of  the social  factors include delay in seeking medical care, non-accessibility to health facilities, high cost of medical services, poor quality care, ignorance etc.

A pregnant woman is a healthy individual prone to a lot of medical conditions associated with pregnancy. However, the health problems can be spotted and treated before they turn to serious pregnancy complications if proper medical care is sought early during pregnancy, thus seeking antenatal care early is key to positive pregnancy outcome. Obstetricians have advised that a woman should register and begin antenatal visits as soon as she confirms she is pregnant to enable proper follow up on the pregnancy to the point of delivery.

It is a common practice in Nigeria for pregnant women to attend antenatal clinic alone (without their husbands) and it’s common knowledge that men perceive antenatal clinic as women’s issue; maybe because of  some of the activities  included in the antenatal clinic (singing, dancing, exercise), busy schedule, or  maybe they don’t know they can also attend. 

Men involvement in the antenatal care of their pregnant wives can contribute to reducing maternal and perinatal deaths. How? A man/husband that is knowledgeable of the danger signs of pregnancy will look out for the wife/ woman and make meaningful birth preparations towards delivery.  A man that is aware that headache is not a good sign in pregnancy would not ignore his wife when she complains of headache but will rather take her to the nearest health center to see a doctor for proper diagnosis.  A man involved in the antenatal care of the wife will understand the importance of good nutrition and balanced diet,  thus will not refer to the wife as long throat. The man will comply with doctors  advice on “bed rest” if need be and not tag the wife as “lazy”,  the man will understand that the wife needs to place her feet on the pillow while asleep to avoid swollen feet; he will understand that she spends money for laboratory tests and multivitamin drugs at the hospital and not to buy egg roll during her visit, he will know that the woman may be at risk of complications and she’s not deliberately denying him sex; the man will also be aware of the need to be cautious on suckling his pregnant wife’s  breast not to trigger labor that may result to preterm delivery.

The Women’s Health and Action Research Centre, a leading NGO in Nigeria has initiated “Couple Monthly Antenatal and Postnatal Health Talk” in Central Hospital Benin City and Jumai Aliu Babangida Maternal and Neonatal Hospital Minna in December 2017, this initiative is to increase men involvement and positive attitude in antenatal and post natal care through sensitization and awareness  creation. The outcome of this initiative has been very insightful and women have shown great excitement at the involvement of their partners in antenatal visits.

Considering the gains of this initiative, Health facilities should embrace this initiative of involving men in antenatal care to address the issue of high maternal mortality in Nigeria.   

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  • Prof. Agatha Eguavoen /Chairman/

    Professor Agatha Nonyem Taiwo Eguavoen attended the University of Ibadan where she obtained her First, Second and Third degrees in Sociology with specialization in Criminology and Gender studies.
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  • Prof. Friday Okonofua

    Professor Friday Okonofua is the pioneer Vice-Chancellor of the University of Medical Sciences in Ondo State of Nigeria. He graduated MB ChB from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 1978 and has PhD (Public Health) from the Karolinska University in Sweden.
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  • Dr. Wilson Imongan

    Wilson Imongan, medical practitioner, graduated with MBBS from the University of Ibadan and had additional training in Dermatology from the University of Wales, Cardiff, UK where he obtained a post graduate diploma in Dermatological Sciences.
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  • Prof. Bridget Ogonor

    Professor (Mrs.) Bridget Ogheneakpobo Ogonor has B.Sc. (Sociology) University of Lagos in 1978. In 1983. 1990 and 1997, she bagged the following degrees; PGDE, M.Ed (Educational Administration) and Ph.D (Educational Administration) respectively from the University of Benin.
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  • Prof. Cyril Mokweyen

    Professor Cyril Obiajulu MOKWENYE is a Professor Francophone Caribbean and African Literatures at the University of Benin, Nigeria. He was educated at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and the University of Bordeaux, in France.
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    Chief Lady Mrs. Marcellina Aisuebeogun is a retired Chief Health Sister/Chief Nursing Officer and a Health Educator for several years.
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    Engineer. Ibude Guobadia is a Management Consultant and Engineer. He obtained a B.Sc. (Hons) Electrical engineering from the University of Lagos, Lagos in 1984 and a master in Business Administration (MBA) in 1990 from the University of Benin, Benin City.
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