Experts converged on Lagos recently under the Coca-Cola Safe Birth Initiative to critique the reasons why Nigerian women are still dying even in the hospitals and one of the contributors, Professor Chinyere Eziaka, President Nigerian Society of Neonatal Medicine and Consultant Paediatrician, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, noted, “mothers still die giving birth at our hospitals due to high blood pressure, hypertension, eclampsia, anaemia, malaria, infections and unsafe abortion among others which are all preventable causes”
She noted that neonatal deaths are largely as a result of asphyxia which is a major reason why babies do not cry-when oxygen is not supplied to the brain and sometimes, those who survive after interventions may end up with brain damage and would not reach full potentials in life.
According to Eziaka, “Prematurity, infections, jaundice amongst others cause about 90% of deaths in newborn, all of which are preventable”.
It is known that majority of women die in poorer, rural areas, where healthcare services are often inadequate or inaccessible, also, where trained and skilled personnel are in short supply. Consequently pregnant women living in such disadvantaged areas are most likely to patronise Traditional Birth Attendants or Quacks who take undue advantage of their situation.
It is disheartening that two thirds of all deaths among pregnant women in the world take place in sub-Saharan Africa with Nigeria and India leading with a third of all deaths.
The present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari on assuming office in May 2015 promised to revamp 10,0000 Primary Healthcare Centres of the over 40,000 across six Geo-Political Zones to ensure access to Antenatal Services and skilled birth attendants but so far after three and a half years in office, the Federal Ministry of Health has only been able to reactivate 4000 leaving a yawning gap of 6000 yet to be attended.
The Midwifery Service Scheme (MSS) which was a stop-gap and adhoc programme in the Office of the SDGs in administration of the President Goodluck Jonathan was able to achieve some substantial reduction in maternal deaths but the scheme was short lived due to non-sustainable funding by all the three tiers of government.
The 5th International Family Planning Conference in Kigali Rwanda is themed: Investing for a Lifetime of Return.
Young girls in the age bracket of 15 to 19 are most at risk of dying from unplanned pregnancy and induced abortion, hence governments are encouraged to invest hugely in this group in the area of contraception and family planning.
It’s very saddening, women and Babies are still dying here.