By Olanrewaju Akojede
Lagos – A joint report by World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and World Bank has said Nigeria recorded 58,000 maternal mortality in 2015.
The report was presented by Dr Olusola Odujinrin at the 2017 Annual Faculty Day Lecture by the Faculty of Public Health and Community Medicine, National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria.
The conference with the theme “Transition in Global Health Paradigms: What Hope for the Nigerian Women and Children?”, was held at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja.
The guest lecturer, Odujinrin said it was rather alarming to see Nigeria down the ladder of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in spite of the abundance of its economic strength.
She identified the factors that contributed to the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR)
as flawed government policies, education, culture, religion among others.
“It is most unfortunate that we are at this level of needless death as recorded by the international agencies where Nigerian women lost their lives to pregnancy and child related causes.
“The factors that contribute to this are diverse including education, culture, religion and lack of access to skilled health workers and necessary drugs.
“The prevalence also depend on several factors, including living in an urban or rural area, socio-economic status and geo-political zone.
“The most worrisome is the report from North-East where MMR is highest: 1,549/100,000 live births in comparison to the South-West zone where 165/100,000 was recorded,” she said.
Odujinrin said the MMR statistics from Nigeria needed to be given immediate attention, warning that the country might be on the brink.
“Currently, Nigeria has the second highest burden of maternal mortality in the world, and contributes about 15 per cent of the annual total global deaths which represent two per cent of the global population.
“The progress in reducing maternal ratio has been to slow. According to the Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) reports for 2008 and 2013, Nigeria achieved practically no reduction in MMR.
“Lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes according to NDHS reports also showed practically no change in the year under review.
“With this we all need to join the vanguard in making Nigerian women life a meaning if we don’t want to be on the brink,” she said.
Odujinrin said poor medical facilities in Nigeria was a hindrance to the attainment of the MDG Project, adding that the country’s policy makers needed to “roll up their sleeves.”
“The overall contributions of poor quality of health services to the huge burden of MMR in Nigeria, as revealed in the various situation analyses and assessment is alarming.
“There is a need to tackle the huge challenges and perform better in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in relation to MMR under Goal 3.
“It is imperative that we have a national focus in providing quality health care facilities and our efforts be dedicated to ensuring high quality of care to our mothers and children.
“It is not that we are bereft of ideas, but we lack political will and financial commitment enough to tackle this menance. No amount is too much for the lives of mothers, newborn and children,” she said.
Prof. Tolu Odugbemi, the Chairman of the occasion, the Chief Medical Director of LASUTH, Prof Wale Oke were among other dignitaries who graced the occasion.