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On high maternal mortality rate

By Editor
06 April 2015   |   4:04 am
AGAINST the backdrop of the high number of women who die daily while giving birth, the World Health Organization (WHO) has once again, raised the alarm and called on policy makers to, increase universal access to reproductive health services for women. This is a call that must be heeded immediately by all. That many women…

AGAINST the backdrop of the high number of women who die daily while giving birth, the World Health Organization (WHO) has once again, raised the alarm and called on policy makers to, increase universal access to reproductive health services for women. This is a call that must be heeded immediately by all. That many women still face this predicament afterall destroys whatever progress that may have been made by many countries in maternal health care.

According to WHO, “396 African women still die every day at childbirth”. The deaths occur mostly in low and middle income countries where screening, prevention and treatment are almost non-existent; and where vaccination against human papilloma virus needs to increase. “

Going by this figure, in a year, the number comes to 144,549, which obviously represents those captured in hospital records. But it is certain that too many women, especially, those living in the rural areas, who use other traditional birth attendants, are not included in the number.

According to WHO, the top ten health problems faced by women include cancer, reproductive health, mental health, Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus (HIV), Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), violence against women, non- communicable diseases, being young and being old. These, WHO said, come with exponential effect to families and nations.

Other social and cultural practices such as female genital mutilation also impact negatively on maternal health. The WHO, therefore, has always stressed the need for action at local, national and global levels to address these deeply intertwined health, economic, social and environmental challenges.

In Nigeria, young mothers of child-bearing age are dying daily in large numbers from avoidable pregnancy complications. In 2005, for instance, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) reported that Nigeria topped the nations with the worst pregnancy problems in the world.

One in 18 mothers faces a lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy complications and childbirth while the figure in Europe is one in 2,400.

Not too long ago, the UNICEF said that one Nigerian woman dies every 10 minute due to pregnancy complications and childbirth, and over 500 newborns die daily. The Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development also said that one in every nine maternal deaths worldwide occurs in Nigeria. These figures are ominous and the phenomenon needs to be addressed urgently.

There is need for public enlightenment because poor education on the part of the women is part of the problem as, quite often, carelessness is responsible for the death of either the mother or the child or both.

Certainly, the nation’s health education and healthcare delivery infrastructure need overhauling to stem the tide of maternal mortality.