Community Mobilisation for maternal and newborn health

The MamaYe campaign is gradually becoming a movement of people taking action to help improve the lives of pregnant women and newborns in their communities. This story shows how people connect for development.

MamaYe Super Activists learning forum draws Super Activists and their Activists from Katagum and Ningi local governments of Bauchi State.

MamaYe embarked on a task of bringing 170 people together to draw on experiences and motivations between the Super Activists and their Activists, and to discuss how to take the task of mobilising communities for maternal and newborn health improvement to the next level.

The Super Activists are those who MamaYe has trained on how to mobilise and encourage others to take actions, such as mobilising their community members for blood donation, advocating for functional blood banks, and any other action that may improve the conditions of primary health care centres for the benefit of pregnant women and newborns in their communities.

Katagum Local Government

The Secretary of the Katagum Super Activists, Ahmed Sanni, took us on a smooth ride through the journey of their success. Just within 6 months, their advocacy efforts have seen people donating and signing up to donate blood. 

  • Diagram: Super Activists recruitment cascade
  • Nasiru Sulaiman - a lecturer who is a MamaYe Super Activist
    Nasiru Sulaiman - a lecturer who is a MamaYe Super Activist
  • MamaYe Student Activists
    MamaYe Student Activists

Ningi Local Government

Nasiru Sulaiman is the chairperson of MamaYe Super Activists in Ningi Local Government. He said that "it is not easy to chair such a group but you do everything to keep bringing people on board. Many administrators are making promises but they have not been forthcoming, even though they are trying. But our participants have been trying so far. The turnout of ANC attendance and hospital delivery is increasing, justifying our efforts".

Nasiru Sulaiman - a lecturer who is a MamaYe Super ActivistNasiru is a lecturer at the College of Health Technology, Ningi. Interestingly, his first recruit was his Provost! Through him, Nasiru requested to set up a MamaYe club at the College, which was strategic enough to recruit students coming from all over the State to the MamaYe club.

This in turn would take the MamaYe movement beyond Ningi to the 20 Local Government Areas who have children attending the College. After assessing the coverage, over time, it will be safe to say that MamaYe is now all over Bauchi State, even if it is by one representative in a Local Government Area.

Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University

Mohammed Mubarak Abubakar, is a student of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi, and the coordinator of the MamaYe Super Activists in the school. He said at the learning forum that he also coordinates activists from the School of Nursing and Midwifery.

"This is basically a school-based group with more than 100 activists. We usually make presentations at the school’s clinic on prenatal, antenatal and postnatal care to prepare future couples amongst us for activities in pregnancy. We also give lectures on routine immunisation, importance of delivering at the hospital, blood donation, mobilising fellow students to transport women in labour to hospitals. We recruit more activists at any opportunity that we may have".

Mohammed said further that the School of Nursing and Midwifery does weekly presentations on various issues on maternal and newborn health around their school or off campus during their community postings.

He said one of their achievements was correcting the wrong impression that some of the communities had about immunisation, which they believed was bad for their health and made their babies big.

The beautiful stories and achievements did not come without their anticlimax, however. The coordinators of the activists groups expressed challenges around recruiting people, especially since the actions being called to, are voluntary.

Getting commitments from community leaders, too, were not as simple as described. But their achievements, and the opportunity that they have to improve the lives of women and newborns in their communities, keep them going. 

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