The Guardian
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58,000 women die annually from pregnancy complications


The Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC) has said that approximately 159 women die daily from pregnancy related complications which makes for 58, 000 death annually.

This is according to reports by WARDC and Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) with support from MacArthur Foundation on accessing the effort of government on promotion of maternal health in Nigeria. This was also presented to the committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

According to the founding director, WARDC Dr. Abiola Afolabi-Akiyode, the figure has hardly changed since 2008 following its findings that focused on Lagos and Kaduna states.

“The high rate of maternal mortality rate in Nigeria is still alarming, access to maternal health facilities is still very poor even as the cases of detention of women who just give birth on account of
not being able to pay medical bills remains high.”

She noted that a World Health Organization (WHO) report had in 2015 identified Nigeria as having the world’s fourth-highest maternal mortality rate, lamenting that the situation has remained virtually the same. As there are 814 deaths for every 100,000 live births but since 2008 the figure has only changed from 829 deaths for 100,000 live births.

Dr. Afolabi-Akiyode also called for reduction of unwanted and unplanned pregnancies among adolescents by addressing barriers to reproductive health services and ensuring that all adolescents in Nigeria receive comprehensive and scientifically accurate sexual and reproductive health education.

She described maternal mortality as one of the most neglected health problems and human rights abuse in the world. “Failure to address the continued needless deaths, has implication for us as a country and
will continue to shape indicators on health, poverty and other development issues.”

Giving a report on most primary health centers in Kaduna State, Bridget Joseph, a staff of WARDC said some of the primary health centres in the State are dilapidated, those with good facilities are without drugs. Joseph also pointed out that most Internally Displaced People camps (IDPs) are in a deplorable state, as most women prefer going to Traditional Birth Attendants.

While legal practitioner for WARDC, Mrs. Bukola Osidibo while giving her report on her work with low income earners pointed out the following as some of her findings: Bad attitude of health workers; lack of bed space and chairs; Non availability of drugs/ expensive drugs; shortage of manpower, among others.

Afolabi-Akiyode however charged the three tiers of government to take steps to strengthen the implementation and effectiveness of its many initiatives to reduce maternal mortality and increase access to quality maternal health care.

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