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Giving Birth in Nigeria: Catalysing Accountability for Maternal Deaths in Nigeria

Duration: January 2019 – June 2020

The aim of the catalysing accountability for maternal deaths programme of the Giving Birth in Nigeria campaign was to develop, test and implement novel approaches that incorporated community voice in maternal death reporting and surveillance, with a view toward making all maternal deaths count. Building on current MPDSR efforts, this system has fed into broader efforts to raise awareness about why women are dying in communities and promote accountability for capturing the deaths and addressing their underlying causes. This was achieved by:

  • developing and implementing an innovative community reporting mechanism that captured quantitative and qualitative data and stories of maternal deaths in the communities
  • raising public awareness of Nigeria’s maternal mortality burden to promote accountability by government and responsibility by the people

The vision for catalysing accountability for maternal deaths was to enable a system where the government at all levels, the community, social groups, healthcare providers and families each bore greater responsibility for safer deliveries. Outcomes for this project have included: increased awareness of maternal mortality in Nigeria, increased reporting of maternal deaths, increased use of maternal death data for behaviour change communication, establishing new social norms: that maternal deaths in and around pregnancy are unusual and can be actively prevented by specific changes in behaviour, increased ownership in communities of maternal outcomes,  taking into account that TBAs should focus on encouraging and supporting facility deliveries and not attending deliveries themselves, increased awareness of why women die in different communities and publishing a “Why are women dying?” report.

Over the 18-month duration of the programme, this was achieved through:

  • Citizen data collection
  • Community engagement and accountability
  • Multi-stakeholder relations