Nigeria’s poor indices for maternal mortality is reported to be about 814 per 100, 000 live births as at 2015, a value that puts the nation second globally in terms of maternal deaths.
A number of well researched factors are responsible for maternal deaths, top among which are poor antenatal and postnatal care and unskilled birth delivery.
These factors and many others interplay to influence maternal mortality rates. According to the 2016 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) data, an estimated 26.5% of women in Ondo State do not deliver in a health facility.
One possible reason pregnant women do not go to a health facility to give birth is the inability to afford the necessary materials required by the health facility for delivery.
They prefer giving birth at home, in places of worship or patronize traditional birth attendants (TBAs). Such practices prevent women from accessing quality health services and may jeopardize the life of the mother and child.
In the light of this, the Wife of the Ondo State Governor Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu sought to increase the number of skilled birth deliveries and reduce the proportion maternal deaths that can be linked to unskilled birth deliveries and poor antenatal and postnatal care.
This led to the development of the Solayo initiative. Solayo which means “safe delivery” in Yoruba is an initiative of the Wife of the Ondo State Governor to promote safe motherhood and reduce maternal and child deaths.
The initiative deploys Solayo kits (containing essential delivery materials required by pregnant women) free of charge to pregnant women, especially at the grassroots level. Since its introduction in 2019, not less than 1080 birth kits have been distributed across the 18 Local Government Areas of Ondo State.
The goal is to seek out pregnant women from the grassroots who are unable to afford these essential birth items and empower them with the Solayo kits.
The Solayo initiative has a strategy to reach out to at least 5000 women with free birth kits before the end of 2020.