..Kangaroo mother care could have saved them- experts
Before this year is finally over, about 87,600 premature children in Nigeria would have died from complications (Mamaye 2016 factsheet on Nigeria preterm babies), mainly due to lack of incubators and other specialized devices to care for them in the health facilities.
Saidat Alli, 31 year old woman residing in Adeolu street Olodi-Apapa, Lagos, is one of such mothers who has lost her premature baby while searching for an incubator.
At 28 weeks’ pregnancy, Saidat started feeling severe abdominal cramps late one Saturday night.
“Then, early in the morning I got up and found myself bleeding. It was 5.30am on a Sunday. My husband rushed me to a nearby private hospital, Saidat recalled.
“At the hospital, the doctor asked if I was feeling any pain, and I told him yes. He then asked if the pain was coming every 10 minutes or so, I also told him it was. I was shocked when the doctor informed me that the pain was contraction. I knew that at 28 weeks, it was too early for me to deliver. My baby was coming out prematurely. Within a short period, our baby boy- Saheed came out, very tiny and frail, weighing 1.2kg”, she recounted.
That was when their real problem started; the urgent need for an incubator and other specialized care, and the realization that the hospital has none. According to Saidat, the hospital has no incubator, so they were quickly referred to Ajeromi General hospital.
“At the general hospital, we were told that there was no free incubator. We were again referred to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH). At LASUTH, we were again turn down because the incubators were all occupied. They referred us to Mother and Child Care Centre (MCC) Ajegunle. The journey from one hospital to another, started taking its toll on the baby; the traffic, and the smoke on the road was too much. Despite wrapping the baby well, I can feel it struggling to breath. On our way to the next hospital, I noticed that baby Saheed was no longer breathing. He died before we could get to the hospital”, she said.
Like baby Saheed, about 87,600 under-five children die yearly due to premature birth complication, according to Mamaye 2016 factsheet on preterm births in Nigeria. Sadl