"It's strange because even ... in the States you do have quite a number of African-Americans that get pregnant with sickle-cell, but the research even from there is not that much at all in pregnancies."
Afolabi says that life expectancy for people with sickle-cell disease is still fairly low -- around late 40s or early 50s. But she is quick to point out that many advances have been made in recent decades.
"Things have changed since the 1940s," she says. "About 40, 50 years ago it wasn't even getting close [to their 50s], so a lot of people weren't even getting pregnant ... because they couldn't live long enough to get pregnant -- a lot of them died in childhood."
Afolabi studied at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ife before moving to the UK to further her knowledge and gain work experience. She could have stayed in Europe to carve out a successful career but Afolabi decided to go back to Nigeria and help improve things in her home country.
"I just had to come back because I felt that this is where I'm needed, this is where I can make a difference," she says. "I really love what I do. It can be frustrating because sometimes we have electricity problems ... but the fact that we save so many lives ... because of the work we do, I think that's the most fulfilling thing for a doctor."
Afolabi says it can be tough to convince women of the importance of giving birth in a professional healthcare environment.
"We know now that one of the ways we can reduce maternal mortality effectively is by having women deliver in healthcare institutions or at least with skilled healthcare," she says.
Afolabi adds that she's driven by her passion to make pregnancy safer and reduce the stress that women go through while pregnant.
"I would really love the incidents of maternal mortality in my country to be so much more reduced than it is now," she says.
"Because of my work with women with sickle-cell and pregnancy, I would like to get to a stage where, not only would it be that the mortality in pregnancy is zero ... I'd also like to try to find out how to improve the perinatal health as well, the health of their babies so that they would have larger babies and not have so much of mortality," she adds.