In Nigeria, access to healthcare is a luxury rather than a fundamental right in rural communities. Ayomidamope Adebiyi, a dedicated nurse with a fervent passion for global health and equity, has embarked on a mission to bridge this gap through her organization, Care for the Unreached. In a recent interview with Yejide Gbenga-Ogundare, delved into the pressing issues of maternal mortality, women’s empowerment, and the pervasive scourge of abuse, shedding light on the urgent need for life-saving health education in Nigeria.
Adebiyi’s journey is fuelled by a deep-seated concern for the staggering rates of maternal mortality and morbidity in Nigeria. “I’m particularly drawn to the plight of mothers, newborns, and children,” she says, citing alarming statistics that paint a stark picture of the country’s healthcare crisis. In Nigeria, the likelihood of a woman succumbing to childbirth-related complications is a staggering one in 22, a jarring contrast to the developed world’s ratio of one in 4900. Adebiyi attributes these grim outcomes to multifaceted challenges, including inadequate healthcare infrastructure and the dearth of primary health services in rural areas.
Women should be recognized as agents of change, she argues.
“Life-saving health education is sorely lacking,” Adebiyi laments and emphasizes the critical role of prenatal care and skilled birth attendants in averting maternal and neonatal fatalities. She underscores the need for comprehensive education initiatives that equip communities with essential knowledge on pregnancy, childbirth, and postnatal care. By empowering frontline healthcare workers and bolstering community awareness, Adebiyi believes Nigeria can make significant strides towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal-3 of reducing neonatal and under-five mortality rates.
Central to Adebiyi’s advocacy is the recognition of women as agents of change. “Investing in women is investing in the future,” she argues, highlighting the transformative impact of female empowerment on societal progress. While acknowledging women’s contributions across various spheres, stresses the importance of creating an enabling environment that affords women autonomy and agency. “We must move beyond tokenism to genuine empowerment,” she urges, advocating for equal access to education, economic opportunities, and political participation.
Gender-based violence must also be addressed.
The conversation takes a somber turn as she addresses the endemic issue of gender-based violence plaguing Nigerian society. “The prevalence of abuse, particularly against women and children, is deeply troubling,” she remarks, citing alarming statistics that underscore the pervasive nature of gender-related violence. Despite the growing awareness facilitated by social media and advocacy efforts, Adebiyi acknowledges the systemic barriers that impede survivors from seeking justice and redress. Urging decisive action from the government, she calls for robust policy measures to combat gender-based violence and safeguard vulnerable populations.
Beyond physical safety, Adebiyi highlights the systemic barriers that hinder women’s progress in Nigeria. From unequal pay and financial dependence to limited access to education and political representation, women face a myriad of challenges that perpetuate inequality. “Ending discrimination against women is not just a matter of rights; it’s essential for national development,” she asserts, underscoring the intrinsic link between women’s empowerment and socioeconomic progress. At the heart of Adebiyi’s advocacy lies a fervent commitment to women’s health and well-being. Drawing from personal experiences and familial anecdotes, she emphasizes the vital role of maternal health in fostering thriving communities.
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“When women are healthy, society thrives,” she asserts, calling for comprehensive healthcare interventions that prioritize women’s reproductive rights and access to quality care. As Nigeria grapples with multifaceted health and social challenges, Adebiyi’s unwavering resolve offers a glimmer of hope. Through her tireless advocacy and grassroots initiatives, she champions a vision of a healthier, more equitable future for all Nigerians. In the pursuit of life-saving health education and gender equality, Adebiyi stands as a beacon of inspiration, catalysing change one community at a time.