What contributes to Nigeria's high rates of maternal and newborn mortality — Ehanire

UNICEF reports 576 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in Nigeria.

Minister of Health Osagie Ehanire attributes the high rates of maternal, newborn, and child mortality in the nation to a lack of access to healthcare.

These remarks were made during a ministerial forum held by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

According to a recent study by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) titled "Situation of Women and Children in Nigeria," the nation registers 576 maternal mortality cases per 100,000 live births, and over 262,000 infant deaths annually.

Further, the current infant mortality rate is 69 per 1,000 live births, and the under-five mortality rate is 128 per 1,000 live births, with pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhoea accounting for almost 64 percent of all fatalities.

Mr. Ehanire called the number "embarrassing," and he said that the federal government is making efforts to provide healthcare to underserved communities.

He said, "It is humiliating when you go to conferences and discover that your nation has some of the worst indices, and that is one of the reasons why this government is looking at expanding healthcare to places where we have challenges.

Despite the rhetoric of inclusion, many individuals are still left out of the health service delivery system, and high rates of maternal death are concentrated in rural regions.

To this end, we have been advocating for more funding for basic health services. Lack of access to healthcare is a major factor in the high rates of maternal death, newborn death, and child death in countries like these.

They say, "There is no medical facility in that area. The majority of births occur in the absence of a trained medical professional, yet when these professionals are present, maternal death rates drop dramatically. Once Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) are operational, he says, there should be a skilled midwife working on each ward.

Because the PHCs are the property of the states and local governments, he said, it is their responsibility to provide enough staffing. Nevertheless, the federal government is cooperating with the states to this end.

To provide continuous service, always have a sufficient number of nurses and midwives on staff. We are now advocating for PHCs to be available at all hours of the day and night. The dispensary may still operate during business hours.

As we explain in our proposal, "the new model that we have built up will feature staff quarters, solar power independent of grid energy, water supply, and the ability to give community service day or night, so everyone who is ready to deliver will not have a long distance to travel.

Read Also : What the Buhari government ought to be known for in the field of healthcare – Ehanire


So, that's a major factor in lowering newborn and mother death rates.

In addition, having access to funds is essential. There's no use in going since they won't be able to afford anything once they get there, and then they'll be ignored.

As a result, health insurance is necessary, and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund guarantees that everyone who goes to the PHC in an emergency, regardless of whether they have any money on them, will still get care.

Therefore, you have both physical and financial access. For the time being, the focus should be on making healthcare better. For example, if a patient in a remote PHC needs assistance on how to handle a complicated case, the nurse may use digital technology to get in touch with a doctor at the regional government headquarters or a specialist at the teaching hospital.

Ehanire said that it may not be realistic to have a doctor in every PHC right now, but that such an intervention would make sure that people always had access to a qualified medical professional.

Concerning unexpected situations, the minister said that some individuals have difficulty with home births while having no major problems beforehand.

He warned that some women may suffer life-threatening bleeding, while others would be unable to give birth due to an obstructed labour and thus have to wait until the next day to reach a suitable medical facility.

But, he said, that's why they created NEMSAS (National Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance Services)!

Simply contact 112, and an ambulance with paramedics will rush to the location of the caller to provide first aid before transporting them to the closest medical facility equipped to handle their condition.

The mortality rate for mothers and children under the age of five may be lowered by taking these steps.

Regarding infant mortality, the top three causes of death are diarrhoea, malaria, and pneumonia.

"There is substantial danger if you don't take care of a youngster with acute pneumonia or severe diarrhoea during the first two or three days.

In such case, "if they get to a medical centre or a PHC early enough, an expert nurse can take care of the condition." Here's what Mr. Ehanire had to say.


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