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Adesua Oni: Building a Social Enterprise that Provide Holistic Maternity Support in Nigeria

Updated: Jul 30, 2022

"We provide holistic support to the pregnant woman and her spouse- social, physical, psychological, and spiritual support. Basically, we educate people on pregnancy topics, wiping off ignorance that may lead to needless loss of life."

Q1:Tell us about your yourself:

I am Adesua Oni. I am a registered nurse and midwife by speciality. I hold a bachelor's degree in Nursing Science and currently run my masters degree at the Liverpool John Moores University, UK. I am the founder of Pregnancy Support Foundation and Stepped-up Nurse Academy

Q2:What does your company do?:

Pregnancy Support Foundation was founded by Mrs Adesua Oni, In February 2015, the World Health Organisation published “Strategies toward ending preventable maternal mortality (EPMM)” (EPMM Strategies), a direction-setting report outlining global targets and strategies for reducing maternal mortality under the SDGs. In line with the World Health Organisation strategy, PSF is out to be a major stakeholder in ending preventable maternal mortality. Since 2020, PSF has recorded convincing and amazing testimonies. Our vision Pregnancy Support Foundation INT’L is a social enterprise that seeks to attain world-class relevance in reducing maternal mortality and achieving a happy journey and safe delivery for pregnant women.

At the Pregnancy support foundation, we educate pregnant women and adults of childbearing age about pregnancy conditions and the importance of facility-based care. We carry out the educational free services online by posting educational and inspiring content, organising occasional webinars on our WhatsApp and telegram groups, and daily posting on our 3500+ member Facebook group. Facebook live sessions are also done nearly every week to educate and enlighten the public. Pregnancy support foundation has partnered many volunteers namely, Nr. Deborah Onumajuru, Racheal Chidi, Mojisola Olubiyo, Iyewumi Shulamite, Adetayo Damilola, Canice Maduba etc, who also educate, enlighten, and support via creative content.

Our mission is to provide all the health education the pregnant woman and her spouse needs to ensure she accesses and gets appropriate and timely healthcare when necessary. Pregnancy Support Partners are set to provide physical social, psychological, and spiritual support to all women of childbearing age and more specifically to pregnant women.

Pregnancy Support Foundation Int’l seeks to create a community of well-informed women of childbearing age who will, in turn, be happy to socialise and build meaningful relationships with each other. Our Global Target By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio (MMR) to fewer than 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

The majority of maternal deaths are preventable: About three-quarters of all maternal deaths are caused by postpartum haemorrhage, hypertensive disorders such as pre-eclampsia/eclampsia, infections, unsafe abortion and other delivery-related complications. In theory, all the major causes of maternal death can be treated with effective and timely clinical intervention which is initiated when a person presents early at the health facility.

Q3: What inspired you to start your business?:

My business was divinely inspired. After my devotional session one morning, the idea was dropped in my mind. I had to pick up my pen and start writing immediately as the flow came. It was unstoppable and the passion kept burning till I took a step and started out with the Facebook group a week after.

Q4: How do you define your business model; what differentiates your products or Services from others?:

We provide holistic support to the pregnant woman and her spouse- social, physical, psychological, and spiritual support. Basically, we educate people on pregnancy topics, wiping off ignorance that may lead to needless loss of life.

Q5: Starting a business is not easy. What struggles did you experience in the infant years of your company and how did you overcome it?:

We are still in our infant years as we would be 2years old come February 2023. The struggles I experienced in my first year was majorly financial. I had to use my personal income to run the organisation. I also had the challenge of not being able to reach those who had no smart phones. That led us carrying out physical medical outreaches to communities.

Q6: What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?:

Registering a business and especially, an NGO is a very long process. I never knew it would take six months. I am still in the process of getting a scuml certificate to enable the corporate bank account opening. It's huge but I am learning.

Q9: What are your 3 priorities right now:

Our biggest priorities right now include:

  1. Raising funds for at least 4 medical outreaches this year-2022.

  2. Obtaining support from international bodies to carry out outreaches to other states.

  3. Getting more committed volunteers.

Q10: What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?:

To reach, educate and support 1million pregnant women in Nigeria every year.

Q11: Advice to other entrepreneurs or to your younger self?:

Keep your eye continually on Jesus. He makes plans come to pass. Take time for training and do more research before launching out.

Lethu Kapueja Research and Innovation Management - Engisource

The social enterprise is Africa’s best bet to increase access to basic services like maternal and child health services, while developing the required cadre of skilled professionals that can mentor others over time. Social enterprises address societal challenges while creating employment, in communities that are often lacking in both.

Adesua Oni’ has responded with great faith to address a gap in the market. Maternal and

Child Health services often aren’t accessible to poor people because private provision of the same service can be too expensive and far from rural and peri-urban areas. The need to service this particular group is clearly there and using the same communities to employ and train service providers is smart thinking. She has displayed exemplary business acumen and a conscience! This is rare!

It is true, pregnant women together with their spouses need all the help they can get especially in these modern days, where information overload is all around us, but access to quality data to rightly inform maternal related decision-making within the household. Traditionally, back in the village, before women joined in on the move towards migrating to urban centres for job opportunities, young and first time mothers had their own mothers and the whole community of older women, back in their villages, offering abundant support. Fast forward to today:

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): points out that, as of 2015, 50 percent of Africa's population lived in one of 7,617 urban hubs. Above implications of this semigration by women, includes being distanced from their rural origins. Putting out of reach, their access, to age old indigenous and semi-modern knowledge systems that were a support base, when it comes to navigating maternal care.

With their neighbours, and themselves, leading busy lifestyles a necessity exists, the artificial or real isolation faced by these expectant mothers in these circumstances, makes it a necessity for Adesua Oni and the Pregnancy Support Foundation team, to bridge this gap, by availing dependable insights and support, whilst also shaping a much needed sense of community. In the same token: those expectant mothers back in the rural hubs and villages, still get to experience the support and knowledge inputs from the Pregnancy Support Foundation , thanks to the wide reaching, digitally enabled ecosystems and communities that Adesua Oni and the team have formed. Shaping and availing a virtual family support, backed by proven clinical know-how, when it's needed most.

I commend Adesua Oni and her team as they continue to grow, raising funds and widening their community reach, strengthening their volunteer base for greater impact, towards realising the Sustainable Development Goals, within this domain, of lowering the maternal mortality ratio (MMR).

The bold SGD objectives, currently in place, includes the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3, which encompasses the reduction of maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births. Attainment of such an objective: will require multiple efforts, across multi-disciplinary domains. Over and above policy, clinical interventions, region specific inputs: educational awareness efforts, have increasingly become all too critical. Particularly when it comes to reaching unreached expectant women, with potentially life-saving insights and best practice knowledge, is key.

Making Adesua Oni and her team at Pregnancy Support Foundation critical role players in this war against lowering the maternal mortality ratio, and thus a go-to for expecting mothers and their spouses, through their community shaping efforts.

It indeed taking a digital village to save an unborn child, thanks to Adesua Oni and the Pregnancy Support Foundation team playing their part, daily, towards ensuring that Africa is saved, one unborn child at a time. I send my salutations to them as they gear to secure the operational funding they require to scale their impact and reach the unreached mothers.

Phumza Dyani: Chief Marketing Officer - Pan African Network for Investment and Dev

According to the Africa Infant Mortality Rate 1950-2022 Macrotrends, the current infant mortality rate for Africa in 2022 is 42.760 deaths per 1000 live births. Whilst a significant amount of work has been achieved in this area, one cannot but think that more needs to be done as every life lost is one too much. I am very impressed by how Adesoua has turned what is a passion and a life purpose into a cause that can help many. The tenacity

to keep going in the midst of challenges is truly commendable.

The service provided by Pregnancy Support Foundation is extremely important as it not only addresses saving lives but supporting the development of healthy mothers and babies. This is extremely important and paramount to developing healthy societies. It is especially important as Africa is a young continent, with often young mothers who desperately need all the support they can receive.

Pregnancy Support Foundation is a symbol of how Africa has the capability to find solutions to its problems. The fact that passionate people like Adesoua can stand up, using their own resources to create solutions can only encourage donors and investors to support the good work that has already started. The solution to address a specific problem has been developed and can be enhanced for scale and greater reach.

Kenneth Igiri: Enterprise Architect & Iwineti Africa

Like the great Fela Durotoye said, Social Entrepreneurs are a powerful set of people who are not just focused on profits but on purpose. I add here that income is great, but impact is awesome in the long term and for the wider community.

Adesua Oni is deploying her expertise to make an impact and fulfil purpose. This is commendable. She has also identified a key area of focus for her work - EMPP Strategies. Her foundation Pregnancy Support Foundation has a clear vision and impressive traction in view of the data shared here.

Though a young company, the giant strides Pregnancy Support Foundation has made show again the resilience of African entrepreneurs and Adesua's grasp of a divinely inspired vision.

Connect with Adesua Oni

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