Across Nigeria’s rural communities, which account for more than 80% of the country’s maternal mortality rates, more than 60% of births are assisted by unskilled attendants. Women routinely give birth on bare floors, risking sepsis. And umbilical cords are severed by rusty blades, exposing new-borns to tetanus.
For Adepeju Jaiyeoba, the winner of the Prince of Wales Prize at Unilever’s Young Entrepreneurs Award 2018, there’s a very personal story behind the statistics. One of her closest friends died in labour in 2011 – a tragedy which inspired her to leave behind a promising career in law, and set up a social enterprise that provides women with access to simple but vital equipment to make their delivery as safe as possible
Adepeju’s business, Mother’s Delivery Kit, provides sterile birthing kits and training to traditional birth attendants, health centres, hospitals, and maternal and child health organisations.
We caught up with Adepeju to find out more about her ambitions to grow Mother’s Delivery Kit beyond Nigeria, what winning the Unilever Young Entrepreneurs Award means to her, and the impact winning will make to her enterprise.