150 Nigerian Women Die Daily From Pregnancy Complications


At least 150 Nigerian women die every day from complications arising from pregnancy and childbirth, says the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, quoting from the World Health Organisation current statistics.

With 150 Nigerian women dying daily from complications arising from pregnancy and childbirth, this translates to 54,750 women dying annually from the same cause.

Speaking at a news conference heralding the first round of the 2010 Integrated Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (IMNCH) Week in Lagos State, Idris said the statistics depicting maternal and child health status in Nigeria were not cheey.

“True, every minute in a day, somewhere in the world, a woman dies due to complications arising from pregnancy and childbirth such that this represents the leading causes of deaths among women of reproductive age.

“In Nigeria , 150 of such women die daily, with haemorrhage, for instance, post-partum bleeding, infection such as sepsis, malaria, anaemia, obstructed labour, unsafe abortion and toxaemia/eclampsia representing the leading cause of death,” he said.

According to him, “this translates to Nigeria constituting only two percent of the world’s population and accounting for 10 percent of global maternal mortality burden. For every death, there are 25-30 morbidities, four percent of which are severe and crippling, such as uterine prolapse, fistulae, pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.

“The tragedy is that these women die not from disease but during normal, life-enhancing process of procreation. Even more tragic is the fact that most of these deaths and morbidities are avoidable if preventive measures are taken and adequate care available.”

He stated that maternal and pre-natal health had emerged as the most important issue that determined global and national wellbeing, stressing that this was because every individual, family and community was, at some point, intimately got involved in pregnancy and the success of childbirth.

Idris added that global statistics for child health did not fare better, as each day, 528 newborns died with 74 percent of these deaths occurring in the first week of life, while 2,700 under-5s died, with malaria and neonatal causes accounting for over 50 percent of these deaths.

“Loss of a child increases the tendency of a woman to want to get pregnant again, hence the adoption of IMNCH Strategy at the 51’st National Council on Health held in Lagos in 2007 essentially to simultaneously tackle issues relating to neonatal, infant, child and maternal mortality,” he said.

The IMNCH comprises high impact intervention packages that address the main causes of maternal, newborn and child deaths and health facility levels and also focuses on integrating maternal, newborn and child health services along the life cycle at all levels.

It thus represents a paradigm shift-changing the way we do business to foster a continuum of care for mothers, neonatal and child morbidity and mortality in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) four and five.

According to Idris, with the full implementation of the IMNCH strategy, 72 percent of neonatal deaths; over 75 percent of under-5 deaths and two-thirds of maternal deaths could be prevented, adding that “in absolute terms, more than 200,000 mothers and six million children lives can be saved by 2015.”

However, the commissioner disclosed that the IMNCH Week with the theme: Partnering for Improved Nutrition for the Mother and Child with the slogan Ensure Adequate Nutrition for Mother, Newborn and Child kicked off today and would end on 27 May, 2010.

He said screening for malnutrition and Vitamin A and micronutrient supplementation would be given prominence during implementation, adding that the Week would be flagged off simultaneously in all the 20 Local Governments and the 57 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).

He appealed to the council chairmen to be extremely committed and go the extra mile in ensuring the success of this week’s celebration and promote good health of “our mothers and children.”

“The responsibility is not that of the parents/care givers alone. It rests on everybody to ensure that our pregnant women, children and in deed the whole family take full advantage of the week-long services.

“I am therefore pleading with all our leaders in the state – politicians, councillors, traditional leaders, and religious leaders to take full responsibility in ensuring that all targeted groups are reached and effectively mobilised,” he stated.

—Kazeem Ugbodaga

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