According to UNICEF, a woman’s chance of dying from pregnancy and childbirth in Nigeria is 1 in 13 (as opposed to 1 in 4,100 in the US). Although many of these deaths are preventable, the coverage and quality of healthcare services in Nigeria continue to fail these women.
When Adepeju Jaiyeoba lost a friend to birthing complications in 2011, she was motivated to start the Brown Button Foundation (BBF) – a non-government-organisation which works to improve maternal healthcare in Nigeria.
After the success of BBF, Adepeju went on to launch Mother’s Delivery Kit (MDK) – a social enterprise established to promote and enhance safe births, instigate behavioural change and economically empower women in Nigeria.
Developed by BBF's medical team, the kits provide a sterilized, disposable, super-absorbent delivery mat, as well as an infant receiver. MDK supplies these kits to various organizations – from health centres to university teaching hospitals – and also provides training for accreditation to use them.
Speaking with Ventures Africa about how her friend's death pushed her to create BBF and MDK, Adepeju said:
"Her death put a face on every maternal and child death statistic I had heard. She was educated and brilliant, and she sought out healthcare services during her pregnancy.
Yet she became one of the 13 women who die during childbirth in Nigeria. The health care system had failed her and her unborn baby."
Today, Adepeju's innovative kits are now in 30 out of 36 states in Nigeria and have reached more than 50,000 women and babies.