When she brought home her newborn son, Michael, Monica Nwafor’s work tripled. The 31-year-old Nigerian mother juggles three jobs. Now, she not only cares for her newborn son, but she is also raising her 5-year-old daughter, Miriam, and her 3-year-old son, Sylva, and earning money trading clothes.
However, a busy schedule is not her biggest concern. She is preoccupied with the threats to her health and the health of her children. According to UNICEF, more than 2,000 children under age 5 and over 100 women of childbearing age die every day in Nigeria. This makes the country the second largest contributor to under-5 and maternal mortality in the world, after India.
Eager to better her family’s chances of staying healthy and safe, Monica signed up for HelloMama during her third pregnancy. With two small children to care for and another one on the way, she was determined not to be one of the one-out-of-13 women who die during pregnancy and childbirth in Nigeria.
Via USAID’s flagship Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP), USAID funded the HelloMama initiative, which originally began in 2014 with help from public and private partners, including Johnson & Johnson. MCSP heads this consortium of partners – which includes Pathfinder International and the Praekelt Foundation – and works with the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency to get vital information to parents via mobile phones and at zero financial cost to them.
Lucia La, MCSP Communications
Tolase Olatinwo, MCSP/Nigeria Knowledge Management Specialist