Globally, while 85 per cent of pregnant women access antenatal care with a skilled health personnel at least once, only six in ten (58 per cent) receive at least four antenatal visits. In regions with the highest rates of maternal mortality, such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, even fewer women receive at least four antenatal visits (49 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively). Even more shocking is that a good number of women in low income communities especially in Sub-Saharan Africa which includes Nigeria still give births at homes. Regular contact with a doctor, nurse or midwife during pregnancy allows women to receive services vital to their health and that of their future children. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum of four antenatal care visits. However, global estimates indicate that only about half of all pregnant women receive this recommended amount of care.
Antenatal care can help women prepare for delivery and understand warning signs during pregnancy and childbirth. It can be a source of micronutrient supplementation, treatment of hypertension to prevent eclampsia, immunization against tetanus, HIV testing, in addition to medications to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in cases of HIV-positive pregnant women. In areas where malaria is endemic, health personnel can also provide pregnant women with medications and insecticide-treated mosquito nets to help prevent this debilitating and sometimes deadly disease.
Maisha Maternity Packs aims at creating awareness to women of reproductive ages 15-45 years on maternal health rights even on safe motherhood through methods which are inclusive. These methods include
-focused group discussions with women group leaders in rural communities and Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs)
-Providing rural women with incentives through the form of maternity packs which contains all the essentials for delivery when they visit health personnel’s during pregnancy,
-women’s empowerment programmes,
-women’s mentorship classes,
-workshops and trainings for TBAs.