The founder of Afe Babalola University in Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), has said he lost six of his siblings to poor maternal care.
The eminent lawyer promised that the university’s teaching hospital, ABUADTH, will give priority to maternal and child care to prevent neonatal maternity.
Babalola spoke yesterday at a workshop on Helping Babies Breathe (HBB), sponsored by the university, in conjunction with Project C.U.R.E., World Health Organisation (WHO) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The event was attended by the wife of Ekiti State deputy governor, Mrs. Janet Olusola; wife of Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Mrs. Bosede Adejugbe; Chief Executive of ABUAD Ventures, Mrs. Modupe Babalola, as well as midwives, nurses and other health workers.
Babalola said: “In those days, some children were born while their mothers were going to the farm and such children would be carried back home in basket. My mother gave birth to 10 of us but only four of us survived.
“I was a survivor of child mortality about 90 years ago. A mother is like gold, and gold is very precious. We must do everything possible to save them and their babies.
“We are grateful to Project C.U.R.E. and other partners for this training. In our hospital, we have a special wing for women and children.”
Ms. Amy Greene, who spoke for the agency’s President, Dr. Douglas Jackson, said they held the programme at ABUAD to support the new 400-bed multi-system ABUADTH.
Greene, who said the agency donated $1 million medical equipment to ABUADTH, said it had saved about 1,620 babies from untimely death due to the training it offered experts in sub-Saharan Africa.
She said: “In Africa, less than 33 per cent of children have access to neonatal care and this mainly predisposed them to deaths caused by malnutrition, diarrhoea, HIV/AIDS and other preventable diseases.
“With this training, our medical personnel will be able to sensitise expectant mothers about the hazards associated with poor neonatal care and the need to take care of their personal hygiene for improved health of our babies.”
Mrs. Babalola noted that besides saving about 60,500 babies from deaths, Project C.U.R.E also trained 1,343 birth attendants and facilitated train-the-trainers trips worldwide through the HBB programme.
She added: “With this training, the three most common causes of preventable neonatal deaths – complications during childbirth, complications from preterm birth and neonatal infections – would be reduced.
“But there is need for us to get to the grassroots where unregistered deaths take place and where deaths are often erroneously associated to witches and wizards without paying attention to the real issue.”