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UN decries maternal mortality, morbidity in Nigeria


Despite longstanding international commitments to reducing maternal mortality and morbidity, progress so far in Nigeria has been disappointing.

This has drawn the attention of international and non-governmental organisations participating in this year’s International Day for Maternal Health and Rights in Nigeria.Head of United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) in Lagos, Dr. Omolasho Omoseni, revealed this yesterday at an event to commemorate the International Day of Maternal Health and Rights, organised by Hacey Health Initiative in partnership with Access Bank.

Dr. Omoseni put maternal mortality rate in Nigeria at about 576 per 1,000 births, with the North and Southsouth contributing a greater number He said: “We do know that the number of women who die at childbirth are more than 576 per 1,000 births in Nigeria. Of course, in the North and Southsouth, we know that pregnant women die during child birth.”

He highlighted some of the preventable factors influencing the increasing maternal mortality and morbidity to include unplanned pregnancy, poor access to healthcare facilities, teenage pregnancy and pre-existing conditions like HIV.Lagos State team leader for Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI), Dr. Edun Omasanjuwa, lamented that many Nigerian women still patronise Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) at childbirth, which contributes to health complications during and after childbirth.

However, he acknowledged the proximity of TBAs to the people, which might have encouraged patronage.“Efforts have been made to partner with the TBAs, providing them with necessary education and equipment to avoid health complications for pregnant women at child delivery,” he added.

Director of Gender and Development Programme, Hacey Health Initiative, Rhoda Robinson, said that her organisation had launched ‘Project Agbebi’, to empower and support TBAs and women to ensure healthy maternity.She stressed the need for government to work with the community.

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Omolasho Omoseni
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