About

“I know that together we can build bridges of action over troubled water”

 

As Founder-president of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), Her Excellency Mrs. Toyin Ojora Saraki is a Nigerian philanthropist with two decades of advocacy covering maternal, newborn and child health; ending gender-based discrimination and violence and improving education, socio-economic empowerment and community livelihoods in Africa.

 

Global Advocacy Section

Global Advocacy

Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH)

Maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) is the largest component of 3MDG’s activities, covering maternal and newborn health, child health, immunization, nutrition, and health promotion.

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WASH

“We in the global health and development communities cannot allow mothers and newborns to die from preventable and unnecessary complications, simply because the most basic of WASH services are not available. Hand hygiene must be a quality indicator in every facility and a national marker of health care quality, with access to soap and water monitored and assessed”.

 

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Midwifery

2020 marks the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. Her Excellency Toyin Saraki was appointed Global Goodwill Ambassador to the International Confederation of Midwives in 2014, and as such, she advocates for resources and support for, and awareness and recruitment of midwives on a global scale. 

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Primary Healthcare

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National Programming

National Programming

MamaCare

The ‘MamaCare’ midwives of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa deliver classes in primary healthcare centres, hospitals, and at Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps, which are a peace and security frontline for displaced, vulnerable and traumatised women and their infants. Despite dire mortality rates in Nigeria – where women face around a one in thirteen risks of maternal mortality in their lifetime – we have not lost even one of our over 250,000 MamaCare mothers during childbirth.

Our MamaCare midwives have achieved this not only by providing classes to a global standard – orienting health-seeking behaviour and improving Nigeria’s progress towards the WHO benchmark recommendation of at least 8 antenatal visits which the Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s Reproductive Health Lifeprint achieves – but also because they act as even more than lifesavers. They provide safe spaces and safe conversations: no subject is taboo or off-limits. They can only do this because they are part of the community that they serve. Too often, global institutions have faced push-back when trying to deliver services – examples that stand out to me include vaccinations and family planning provisions – because they attempt to do so as outsiders, without the trust of a community.

Placing midwives at the centre of our work gave us an army of professional community counsellors which has helped to drive the behavioural change to make women an empowered and informed partner. Midwives are the interlocutors between our Foundation, its aims, and women.

 

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Alive & Thrive

Early and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life is the single most important nutritional determinant for child survival. Yet, in Nigeria, where more than 800,000 children under the age of five die each year, a majority of new mothers do not engage in optimal breastfeeding practice. Nationwide, only 33% of children are breastfed within the first hour of birth, and only 17% are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. Furthermore, poor infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices contribute to the prevalence of stunting (37%), wasting (18%), and underweight children (29%) throughout the country.

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa is an implementing partner for the Alive and Thrive Infant and Young Children Feeding and Nutrition Initiative, alongside our partners FHI 360 and Save the Children International, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in 550 facilities in Lagos and Kaduna states.

As implementing partners for Alive and Thrive, we joined together to save lives, prevent illness, stunting and malnutrition, and to ensure the healthy growth and development of infants and young children through improved breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices. We do so through a four-pronged approach:  advising on policy and conducting advocacy; interpersonal communication and community mobilization; mass communication; and the strategic use of data.

Our advocacy includes promoting exclusive breastfeeding infants for the child’s first six months to achieve optimal growth, development and health; and thereafter giving them nutritious complementary foods whilst continuing to breastfeed up to the age of two years and beyond. The advantages as we know are multiple and include a lower risk of gastrointestinal infection for the baby, more rapid maternal weight loss after birth, and delayed return of menstrual periods.

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EmONC

The Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care Training Programme, or EmONC is a ground-breaking partnership between the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), Johnson & Johnson and the Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health (CMNH) at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

 The partnership focuses on EmONC training in healthcare facilities to improve health outcomes for mothers and their newborns.

80% of all maternal deaths result from five complications which can be readily treated by qualified and trained health professionals: haemorrhage, sepsis, eclampsia, complications of abortion and obstructed labour. EmONC training is so successful because it takes place in-house and equips doctors, nurses and midwives, as a collective team, with the skills needed to overcome these obstetric emergencies.

The partnership has resulted in a 15% improvement in maternal survival and a 38% improvement in the still birth rate in health care facilities where the project is implemented. It has now expanded to the whole of Kwara State, Nigeria: to over 600 extra health workers and 62,900 more women and their babies.

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Philanthropy

Philanthropy

Maternal Monday

MaternalMonday is a simple and effective advocacy campaign of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa to remind and encourage mothers and their healthcare givers that for a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery, every mother should deliver her baby in a properly equipped medical facility, attended by a skilled and qualified midwife with access to appropriate medical referral to a doctor and/or surgeon.

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Wellbeing for Women Africa

Wellbeing for Women supports young advocates as they give life to new solutions.

Harnessing the best and brightest minds in International Development, Wellbeing for Women mentors, supports and amplifies the unique voices of our Youth Partners to make a tangible impact in any decision-making space.

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Well Being Foundation Africa

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa was founded in 2004 by Her Excellency Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki, with the aim of improving health outcomes for women, infants and children. At the WBFA, we combine our programmes with advocacy work in Nigeria and around the world.

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