Group trains 150 nurses, 20 doctors on postpartum depression

Postpartum Support Network (PSN) Africa, an NGO, says it has trained 150 nurses and 20 medical doctors on ways to identify and provide support to women suffering from postpartum depression.
Dr Onyedikachi Ekwerike, President of the organisation, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday.
He said the network provided the training as part of its effort at tackling the rising cases of postpartum depression in the country.
Ekwerike, who is also a Clinical Psychologist and Mandela Washington Fellow, described the condition as a mental illness mainly affecting the nursing mothers, saying the medical condition is grossly misunderstood by many health workers.
He said that women who had the condition experienced one or more of the following signs and symptoms: mood swings, anxiety, sadness, irritability, feeling overwhelmed, crying and reduced concentration.
Others include appetite problems, insomnia and difficulty bonding with the newly born baby.
According to him, postpartum depression is a treatable medical condition affecting one in seven women, but added it is imperative that awareness about the condition be more widespread across Africa considering the rising number of the victims.
Ekwerike noted that through education, screening and support, PSN Africa is changing the narrative about postpartum depression and is helping mothers receive the help and treatment needed to feel better.
“Postpartum depression, a serious mental illness that can affect women after childbirth, is a condition that is highly overlooked and misunderstood.
“With the prevalence of postpartum depression in Nigeria, and indeed Africa at large, one organisation has been leading the way in raising awareness about the condition.
“Recently, PSN Africa concluded an innovative and highly successful campaign tagged `Feel Something, Say Something 2.0’, having secured a grant from Aspire Coronation Trust (ACT) Foundation.
“The grant was given to the organisation to educate and screen 2,000 women for postpartum depression across 10 hospitals in Lagos state, Nigeria.
“The hospitals we visited included Randle General Hospital and Ifako General Hospital.
“Others were Orile Agege General Hospital, Island Maternity Hospital, Ikorodu General Hospital, Amuwo Odofin Mother and Child Health Center, Harvey road Health Centre, Mushin General Hospital, Ajeromi General Hospital, and Gbagada General Hospital,” he said.
Ekwerike urged women to always speak up if they feel the signs and symptoms of the medical condition after their child delivery.
He explained that speaking up by a woman suffering the medical challenge would attract immediate help, besides giving other women in similar conditions immense social support.
“Postpartum depression can strike any woman; in fact, recently, two well-known Nigerian celebrities publicly shared their experiences with postpartum depression.
“A writer, Ese Walter-Ark, recently shared a personal account of her difficult struggle with postpartum depression in an open post on her Facebook page where she described her endless quest for happiness which she could not find after her baby was born.
“She explained that as the depression escalated, she felt she had no choice but to leave her child with her family and flee.
“The experiences are not uncommon among women suffering from postpartum depression.
“PSN Africa strives to continue doing the vital work of raising awareness about this condition in order for more women to realise they are not alone and that with proper support they can feel better,’’ Ekwerike said.
NAN reports that the organisation was founded in 2015 and it is said to be committed to raising awareness about postpartum depression in Nigeria in particular and indeed Africa. (NAN)

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