As the 2015 deadline for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) programme approaches, Nigeria continues to record high maternal mortality, with at least 40,000 women dying each year before, during and after child birth.
Executive Director, Women Health and Action Research centre (WHARC), Prof. Friday Okonofua who disclosed this, said Nigeria ranks second behind India in the world, and one out of the 10 countries that account for 50,000, representing 14 percent of global maternal deaths.
Okonofua, while delivering a lecture titled: “Role of Anaesthetits in Prevention of Maternal Deaths” at the 2012 Scientific Conference organized by the Nigeria Society of Anaesthetists (NSA) in Benin City, with the theme: “Anaesthesia and Millennium Development Goals,” pointed out that “six maternal deaths over a period of 5 years in the United Kingdom is on the high side.”
The Professor of Gynaecology also listed the causes of maternal deaths to include: excessive bleeding of women before, during and after child birth, hypertension and HIV/AIDS accounting for 40 percent deaths at the University of Benin (UBTH) alone.
On his part, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, a medical doctor, who was conferred with Anaesthesia award for Excellence, said the State has begun free maternal health programme since 2007; in addition to free health care for children below ages 0-5.
Represented by the State Commissioner for Health, Mr. Joseph Otumara, Uduaghan recalled that before the commencement of the free maternal programme five years ago, 460 deaths were recorded in every 1,000 pregnancies and child delivery among women in the State.
“But as at November 27, 2012, it was 221 for every 1,000 delivery and by the next statistics expected later in the year, the figure would have dropped,” the Governor’s representative said.