I can tell it’s her husband, I can always tell it’s her husband. There’s something beautiful about the way she addresses her husband. It’s the lilt of Hausa in her voice.
I think Hausa is the most romantic language, Have you heard young girls speak Hausa? The way it flows from their lips, the bell like sounds, the beauty of their tiny voices. Am I romanticizing Hausa? Perhaps I am, my junior secondary school years were spent in Northern Nigerian and I loved listening to girls who spoke Hausa.
The songs they sang during social nights still stay with me even when I have no idea what the words mean and I can barely remember the words they sang. We had a girl whose voice always made me feel mellow. She liked to sing a song about divided hearts, it’s the only song I know what it meant. She sang the English and Hausa versions of the song and I loved the idea of looking for someone to give the last quarter of my heart to.
I was trolling Facebook (as I usually do) and I saw her picture accompanied by RIP. She’d died in childbirth, her baby didn’t make it either. I typed RIP like everyone else and forgot about it. The next day I saw another picture, another school mate who’d died in child birth and her baby didn’t survive. Perhaps because the two deaths came so close together, people mentioned other school mates who’d died at childbirth and I couldn’t help crying a little.
In Nigeria, one woman in thirteen will die in childbirth… Think about it. Thirteen women will go to the hospital to have a baby and one of them will not come out. We’re not considering the women who give birth at home, churches, spiritual houses and with traditional birth attendants. We’re talking regular hospital births.
Many maternal mortalities are not even reported, so the one in thirteen statistic I just stated is not really the true value. Many women do not even have access to good health care in pregnancy, death in pregnancy is also seriously unreported. Malaria alone kills thousands of pregnant women, the anaemia caused by malaria can be deadly in normal people. In a malnourished pregnant woman, it is usually fatal.
Sometimes the best hospitals do not even offer better protection from maternal mortality, horrible tales abound of incompetence and nonchalance even in the most expensive and exclusive private hospitals in Nigeria. It’s not hard to see why many women chose to have their babies abroad where they have access to the best healthcare services no matter what it costs them. Some couples even have savings plans for having the children abroad.
One of the Millennium Development Goals is to reduce the maternal mortality rate by a third in 2015… This is 2015, nothing has changed. It seems like nothing will. Government policies that favour healthcare improvement should be made, access to adequate healthcare regardless of economic status, provision of quality healthcare facilities should be the priorities of incoming governments at all levels. Companies should focus on maternal health improvement programs as their Corporate Social Responsibilities. Telecom companies can sponsor modern maternities in rural communities, that will definitely touch more lives than signing B-list artistes as ambassadors and it’s more value for their money if you ask me. We should also embrace a litigation culture, if a woman dies through negligence and incompetence of the healthcare team… We should sue their pants off, there are many hungry lawyers trust me. I pray that in 2016 maternal mortality rate would have dropped a notch, the incoming government promised improved healthcare provision. I hope they keep their promise.
Me? I’m having my kids abroad