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Nigeria: Dads like Suhaibu won’t be celebrating Father’s Day

In Nigeria, more than 1 million children die each year before they reach the age of five. The country has one of the worst child mortality rates in the world. More than 24% of those children who die are newborn babies.

6 women in Nigeria die every hour from pregnancy-related complications like haemorrhage, anaemia and infections, with over 50,000 mothers dying each year. Most of these women are poor – mothers and children from the poorest of families have more than twice a higher risk of dying as those born into richer homes.

Imagine the impact this has on their families; their children and husbands, who now have to struggle without their love and care. In the run-up to father’s day, I met a father, called Suhaibu, who recently lost his wife and baby during childbirth due to a lack of access to good healthcare. Despite his faith, he confessed to being deeply affected by the experience.

He now takes care of his two male children but has sent his daughter to live with his late wife’s sister in Katsina (a city in northern Nigeria) and now has to travel for one hour every day and back to see her. Despite living in abject poverty with a lack of access to infrastructure, Suhaibu tries his best to take good care of his family.

This is why Nigeria has been identified as one of five countries which urgently needs to reduce maternal newborn and child mortality rates. Save the Children is providing support to basic healthcare systems and protecting children from abuse and exploitation in twelve states in the country. By developing strong projects and effective strategies with networks of partners, we are showing that positive change can be achieved.

In my next blog I will share Suhaibu’s tragic story about how his wife and daughter died.

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