Nigeria: Mental Health, a Silent Burden for Women #GivingBirthinNigeria


Sumary of Nigeria: Mental Health, a Silent Burden for Women #GivingBirthinNigeria:

  • Findings from a community-informed maternal death review report titled ‘Why Are Women Dying While Giving Birth in Nigeria?’ reveals that many of women like Adeona suffer mental health problems in silence..
  • It is an unrecognized contributing factor affecting quality maternal health during pregnancy and shortly after giving birth..
  • The 18-month community-informed maternal death review was commissioned by MSD for Mothers and implemented by Africare, Nigeria Health Watch and EpiAFRIC to provide an inquiry into the reasons pregnant women were dying in communities and to proffer a community accountability mechanism for maternal deaths..
  • During the baseline survey of the review, Dr Ukwori-Gisela Kalu, a clinical psychologist, assessed the mental health of pregnant women and those that had given birth to understand the mental health and wellbeing of women in selected communities in the six selected states of Niger, Bauchi, Kebbi, Lagos, Bayelsa, Ebonyi , representing each geo-political zone in Nigeria..
  • A mother with postpartum depression may fail to eat, bathe or care for herself, increasing the risks of ill health..
  • This mix of emotions is what may often lead to an insatiable quest for information that health workers unwittingly term as obnoxious..
  • By focusing primarily on the physiological needs of the mother and baby, the health system may fall short of meeting her psychological needs,”.
  • Asonibara, who has delivered women for over 20 years, says mental health challenges in maternity presents itself in many ways..
  • The Giving Birth in Nigeria report notes that for a lot of pregnant women, the most important thing to them as regards health care is not the experience of the doctor or health worker..
  • During the review, several women reported high levels of anxiety throughout pregnancy, with little to no support mechanisms or services available to them..
  • “Thinking is one of the problems because your blood pressure is always high and when you are with your husband you don’t seem to have rest of mind because he cares less about you as the wife, he leaves the house expecting you to sort yourself out, and by so doing, there is no other way to drown your sorrows than to keep thinking”- a pregnant woman in Kebbi State reported..
  • A patient who has not been to ANC will face more difficulty because she is not prepared”, she says in support of the findings of the report..
  • Giving birth at home or in a community space, with little to no professional health care equipment or personnel, worsens the state of mental health…

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