BY CHUKS NWANNE
When Melody Unuakpor resolved to give part of the proceeds from her debut album to the Centre for Women’s Health & Information (CWHI) to start up a campaign against maternal mortality, many people, even the NGO, doubted the possibility of that happening. But for the mother of three, there’s no better way to show appreciation to God for saving her from preeclapsia, which took away her first pregnancy. In fact, it was by the grace of God that the singer survived. With the album successfully launched earlier in the year at the Agip Recital Hall, MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos, Melody has finally fulfilled her promise by donating part of the proceeds to the NGO, which was used to organize a one-day campaign on maternal mortality held recently in Ibeju, Lekki, a remote part of Lagos, which attracted mothers, especially pregnant women from the community and their men, who came to witness the event. “Well, I think it was a divine connection; we’ve never met Melody before. She just pulled a call through one day and said, “I read about your organisation on the Internet, I like what you are doing and I will like it to support it.’ Initially, we were very skeptical because such things never happens; you hardly find Nigerians, especially individuals, who want to support the work of NGOs,” Adebanke Akeleresi, one of the founders of the home confessed at the campaign. She commended the donor for her gesture, calling on the government and individuals to contribute to the campaign. “If you look at the figure in Nigeria, you see that the rate is very high. So, it was a great thing when she came up with the idea of giving part of the proceeds from his album launch to awareness campaign on maternal mortality. This is a community we’ve been working with before especially on women issues and we need government to support people and provide services so that when there’s complication, women will see where to go for medication. There are health facilities in the cities, but here, you hardly get such things and that’s why we’ve decided to focus on this particular area.” Speaking at the event, Melody charged women to always take care of their health, especially during pregnancy period. “Sometimes, some women are careless about their health and lack of information on the other hand, is also a problem. We really need to watch ourselves very well especially during pregnancy. I feel wonderful; I feel great. I’m happy that I’ve been able, by the grace of God, to touch lives here; it’s part of our whole existence.” On her choice of Ibeju Lekki for the campaign, Melody explained that, “people in this part of the country lack the basic information about life; a lot of them don’t have the opportunity of coming to the cities. Funny enough, when such complications starts, a lot of them believe it must have been sent from the villages or by their enemies. I think campaigns like this will help to enlighten them on how best to take care of their health especially during pregnancy.” Meanwhile, Melody, who just concluded the shooting of her music videos, plans to extend the gesture to other parts of the country. “This is something I will like to continue. In fact, I was touched when I saw all these pregnant women gathered here for this project. It’s something we need to continue no matter how much; no amount is little.” The event featured lecture by some experts, who were contracted to speak to the women. Free drugs and counseling were also parts of the benefits for participants.