Of Maternal Mortality In Nigeria | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Of Maternal Mortality In Nigeria

Posted: May 12, 2015 at 12:25 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

 Government should increase its allocation to the health sector and also reduce leaks in its expenditure because a situation where less than one- fifth of its paltry budget for Health goes for capital expenditure is deplorable

In a recent report by the United Nations Funds for Population Activities (UNFPA), Nigeria is said to account for over 14 per cent of the World’s maternal deaths. At about 145 of such deaths per day, this figure is outrageously high and unacceptable, if we consider that the figure translates to 576 deaths per 100,000 births and that Nigeria’s population is just two per cent of the world’s population.

All the causes listed as responsible for this high maternal death rate such as: Haemorrhage, infections, unsafe abortion and others (including HIV/AIDS), are preventable with proper antenatal care, skilled supervision and interventions for preventing or treating complications that could arise at child birth or after. We call on government to pay more attention to primary health care, which has almost collapsed, as this is the channel through which the greater majority of pregnant women can be reached, especially in the rural areas, to give them access to crucially needed healthcare.

Nigeria was amongst 189 countries that met in 2000 in New York and made a promise to free the world from extreme poverty and deprivation. Improved maternal health was the fifth goal set along with all the other Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were 2015. But now, we are far from achieving these goals.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had proposed some working areas in 2000. These among others were to: Strengthen health systems and promote interventions; focus on policies and strategies that work and are pro-poor; monitor and evaluate the burden of maternal and newborn ill-health and its impact on societies; and emphasise maternal mortality as human rights and equity issue. It is worrisome that Nigeria can only boast of 14 per cent reduction in maternal mortality rate since 2000, when we ought to have achieved near zero maternal mortality in the country. Even now, there are many rural communities faced with lack of dispensaries; absentee doctors and auxiliary nurses.

Government should increase its allocation to the health sector and also reduce leaks in its expenditure because a situation where less than one-fifth of its paltry budget for Health goes for capital expenditure, is deplorable.

We would like to suggest an immediate increase in political commitment to healthcare by all levels of government. This will help to facilitate infrastructural developments and implementation of development plans mapped out for the health sector.

The availability of better infrastructure will motivate equitable distribution of health workforce with a resultant reduction in the present conducive atmosphere for quackery to thrive. We want to see a situation where the primary and secondary levels of care and referral systems are stronger and better coordinated. We would also want to call for sustained and committed development of health-related social development sectors such as power, roads and water to enable Nigerian healthcare professionals set up modern healthcare facilities that will make quality healthcare available to many and thereby reduce maternal mortality.