What influences maternal and newborn survival?

Zariyatu Abubakar founded Wildan Care Foundation in 2008. Her experience about pregnancy and giving birth inspired her decision to found an organisation that takes care of pregnant women and newborns. This is her story.

In 2011, I had a preterm delivery. It was actually through a Caesarean section to increase the chances of survival of my baby. Unfortunately, he came with complications and severe birth asphyxia. The doctors were on him for about 7 hours of his life, but around 1:00am, I lost him. I was devastated.

In 1995, I was an undergraduate at the University of Maiduguri, studying Business Management. My sister, who was married and pregnant, was also an undergraduate. We were on holiday but when we were supposed to go back to school, she fell into labour and I decided to stay with her. We were at the hospital for 12 hours while she was in labour.

A doctor, who was our neighbour, was managing her but when his duty period was over, the next doctor on call refused to attend to my sister. When it became obvious, according to a nurse, that my sister would need a CS, the doctor on call still refused to attend to her, saying that she was the other doctor’s patient and he should take care of her.

My mother was so scared of losing her daughter, so she took her to a private clinic. The CS was done at the private clinic, and she was delivered of a male baby.

"A day after the surgery, my sister started to complain of heat, but the doctor discharged her anyway. She developed some complications later in the night. She moaned in pain that she was going to die. She couldn’t explain what she was feeling".

That was around 3:00 am. We took her back to the hospital, but we didn’t get there before she gave up. When she was washed and shrouded and laid down, I saw blood coming out of her ears. That was why I thought that she must have had internal bleeding.

She left the boy, who is a grown man now. We had all the resources to afford good health care services, but this still happened due to first, transferred vendetta between 2 doctors, and then the negligence on the part of the private clinic.

This experience motivated me to start all the work in helping to save the lives of women and babies. When I started my business, I dedicated part of the profits to paying hospital bills for women who gave birth but couldn’t pay hospital bills. I got married to a doctor, who would fill me in on women and children at the hospital who needed my help.

It got to a point that I could no longer afford to help the number of the people that were coming for help. This was when I was advised to formalise my charity and involve those who share my vision. This was how Wildan Care Foundation started.

Taking certain actions can help to save the lives of pregnant women and newborns. The truth is in the experience that Zariyatu shared. It should start with a vision to save lives, and involving those who share the vision.

This is why MamaYe has brought up groups and individuals and empowered them with the knowledge and encouragement needed to help save the lives of pregnant women and newborns. 

Zariyatu is a co-chairperson of the Advocacy subcommittee of Gombe State Accountability Mechanism for Maternal and Newborn Health (GoSAM), a group that MamaYe supports to promote calls for the improvement of maternal and newborn health in Gombe State.

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