Activist breaks MNH barrier in Lagos

During the past 30 years, Monsurat Folake Ahmed-Ogundipe has worked as a Community Health Extension Worker, a nurse, and a midwife, before finally bagging a BSc in Nursing Education. Currently she works as a health education officer in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State.

As a health care educator, one of the trends that were worrisome to Monsurat was pregnant women’s low patronage of health care facilities. And, in all her years of experience, Monsurat has recently discovered an idea on how to take action and what action to take to increase the number of pregnant women patronising health care facilities in her community, beyond talking to them.

Her insight came when she attended the MamaYe Super Activist training on taking actions that would improve maternal and newborn health.

After her training and becoming a MamaYe Super Activist, Monsurat came up with an idea that she strongly believes will make pregnant women patronise health care facilities.

Her idea is simple, yet adequately powerful to encourage pregnant women to patronise health care centres.

Monsurat said, “I designed a referral form and I had two volunteers helping me to call for antenatal care attendance. With MamaYe’s introduction of recruitment of activists, my Ward Development Association members helped to propagate the idea and a lot of people volunteered as activists. After the activists were trained, I personally have 58 activists and they all have the referral forms”.

Monsurat went ahead and designed another, voluminous referral form, made copies and handed them over to her trained activists, as she pursued her new passion to help pregnant women access primary health care centres.

“I started giving out the referral forms to my activists on May 24, 2017, after their training”, Monsurat said, “they have since referred three pregnant women, two in Ipaja-Ayobo and one in Akowonjo PHC. The one in Ipaja has given birth. We have their phone numbers to follow up on them, and we are able to know when they give birth.

Sample of Monsurat’s referral form

“The activist will fill a referral form, have a counterfoil and give the original to the pregnant woman, who gives it to the matron or the chief nursing officer in charge of the PHC. We’ve already spoken to the PHCs on this idea and we’ve got their cooperation.”

For all the years that Monsurat has worked as a health care giver, she has realised that merely talking to the pregnant women does not work as much as giving them something (such as the referral form, which she believes as the extra push to show more seriousness.

Monsurat designed and printed her own referral forms completely with her own resources. She spent at least five thousand (N5,000) Naira to host her activists to a meeting (although this has happened once, it would happen again many times in the future), while she spent ten thousand (N10,000) Naira to produce the referral forms.

Going by the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey, maternal mortality ratio in Lagos State is an unacceptably high 650/100,000 live births. While the government and development partners are collaborating to improve the health of pregnant women and enwborns, the citizens have a role to play. This is why MamaYe is raising Super Activists, encouraging individuals, groups and organisations to act and save the lives of pregnant women and newborns. Monsurat is one of such Super Activists.

“I heard the stories and actions of other Super Activists that MamaYe has trained in Ondo State when MamaYe trained us in October 2016. These stories of other Super Activists inspired me. My activities so far are my own contribution to the development of maternal and newborn health,” Monsurat said.

First published on MamaYe Nigeria ( by Morooph Babaranti

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