With 18 million residents, Lagos is on track to be Africa’s largest megacity by 2015. While some of the city’s residents bask in oil wealth, thousands more live in malarial slums where governmental neglect and corruption leave piles of garbage, unclean water and rampant crime. Nigeria’s maternal mortality rate is one of the highest in the world.
A team of Nigerian midwives offers free maternity care to slum residents at a Doctors Without Borders-run clinic, combining international training and funding with local expertise and stability. Midwife Grace Ngozi explains, “There are Africans that don’t really need somebody to come and help them. All we need is ‘Give me work and I’ll do it.’”
When I took these photographs, state-employed doctors had been on strike for 11 weeks and patients could not afford private hospitals, so the clinic proved indispensable.
As with many resources in megacities, health care is plentiful but inaccessible to the city’s poorest residents, and this clinic is a model for building capacity and improving accessibility.