Most women in rural communities do not understand the need for antenatal care during pregnancy. Here’s an experience we came across on the field during one of our medical outreaches: A woman presented with threatened miscarriage was successfully managed. However, it was discovered that she wasn’t using the routine multivitamins and haematinics. When the husband was questioned about why she wasn’t taking the drugs or even coming for antenatal care, he said he gave her money to book for the antenatal care, however, she said she does not have any problem and that she had been well until that day. She was appropriately counseled on the need for antenatal care. 

In rural Nigeria, this and other practices are a major challenge to successful antenatal processes. 

Some cultures also believe that eating a protein diet during pregnancy will make the developing baby very big hence necessitating a cesarean section. In this case, the husbands do not agree to make provision for healthy food for pregnant wives. These men usually accuse their pregnant wives that they want to enjoy themselves with the little money available. 

Many women carry a pregnancy to delivery without accessing any form of antenatal care. Some only present to the hospital after trying to deliver at home without success. 

Here’s another experience we had on the field in one of the mobile clinics: 

A woman in Labor was brought by the relatives to our clinic, she didn’t allow any of us to examine her. When we decided to refer her to the teaching hospital, her husband now persuaded her to allow us to do our work. At this point, it was discovered that her baby’s head was already on the perineum. Following delivery, we realized she had been in labor at home for three days. 

Pregnant women in rural settings suffer a lot of complications without accessing adequate care. 

The prevalence of maternal and child mortality is alarming. 

For these preventable deaths, lack of primary healthcare facilities, skilled professionals, basic drugs, and hospital consumables alongside poverty and ignorance are core factors to blame. 

This is the case in many rural communities in Nigeria but with consistent work in some of these communities, RUCOMEF is making a positive impact in ensuring basic healthcare services are delivered to them. 

Antenatal care is the supervision and attention given to the pregnant woman from the time pregnancy is confirmed to the delivery of the baby. 

THE AIMS: 

  1. To ensure the wellbeing of the mother and unborn baby. 
  2. To detect illnesses and pregnancy-related complications and take care of them promptly. 
  3. To prepare the woman and the family for the birth of the baby. 

THE CARE GIVEN 

  1. Health talks on diets, hygiene, rest, the changes expected during the period. 
  2. Treatment of pregnancy-related illnesses and complications, e.g., hypertension in pregnancy, malaria in pregnancy, threatened miscarriage. 
  3. The general physical examination is done to detect any problem and commence treatment. 
  4. Routine drugs and anti-tetanus immunizations are given. 
  5. Routine investigations are carried out, e.g., PCV, FBS, HIV, HBsAg, blood group, urinalysis, VDRL ultrasound scan. 

For this care to be effective, it requires the cooperation of the family with the health facility rendering the care. 

Working among the rural communities, the constraint to this care are; 

1.Lack of health facilities in many areas. 

  1. Ignorance on the need to seek antenatal care, hence women are not being encouraged to access care. 
  2. Lack of money to attend to this care. 

RUCOMEF remains committed to ending Maternal child mortality in rural communities by providing wholistic healthcare and to neglected rural communities.