Modern medicine

With safety in mind, Nigerians campaign to end church births

Nigerians attend Sunday mass at Saint Joseph's Cathedral in Kaduna, Nigeria. (Nichole Sobecki/AFP/Getty Images)

Giving birth at church is a widespread practice in Nigeria. Ransom Linus Martin, a pregnant 27-year-old woman, told The BBC what many others around the country believe: “On the day of your delivery, God will help you and you will deliver successfully.” For some women, the comfort and protection of belief in a holy presence is undeniable, but the health facilities provided by a church are often sub-par and birth attendants sometimes prove unskilled when complications arise in delivery.

That’s why Dr. Linda Ayade has been traveling from community to community, hoping to motivate women to give birth at a hospital instead. “I have worked in hospitals in Nigeria and I have first-hand experience of pregnant women being rushed in at critical times when they can no longer be helped,” she told the BBC. “Some are even confirmed dead on arrival, and it happens quite often. I have taken it as an obligation to save lives and reduce incidences of maternal mortality relating to childbirth and delivery, knowing what it means for a mother to die and leaving children behind.”

Ayade notes that deeply religious villages are less likely to move towards hospital births, so new, accessible hospital centers and education is a must. “Our people are deeply religious, and some of them are so deep in the traditional practice that it’s usually very difficult to shrug them off,” she said.

Read the full story at The BBC.

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