Nigeria is one of the countries with the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, with the country accounting for about 20 per cent of global maternal deaths. Daily Trust, in this report, examines some of the factors responsible for this ugly trend.
Maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in several low-and-middle-income countries is alarming, with about 34% of global maternal deaths occurring in Nigeria and India alone.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the MMR of Nigeria is 814 deaths (per 100,000 live births).
The lifetime risk of a Nigerian woman dying during pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum or post-abortion is one in 22, in contrast to the lifetime risk in developed countries estimated at 1 in 4,900
Nigerian women are also said to be 500 times more likely to lose their lives in childbirth when compared to most advanced nations of the world.
An online research media, indexmundi puts Nigeria’s maternal mortality rate at 917 deaths/100,000 live births.
Speaking on the increasing rate of maternal mortality in the country, the Programme and Communication Officer, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education, Mr Armsfree Ajanaku said, from their experience as an organization that has been working to mitigate the devastating impact of scourge of maternal and child health in Nigeria, they have observed a number of factors contributing to the situation.
“In the first place, the poor governance of the Primary Healthcare Sector is a major issue.
“A situation where PHCs, which are supposed to be the first port of call for expectant mothers and infants are ill equipped to respond to basic treatment needs, exposes large number of mothers and babies to untimely death,” he said.
He said they have situations, especially in rural areas, where equipment as basic as beds, thermometers, and blood pressure monitors are not available in PHCs resulting in patients being treated without the right indices.
Mr Ajanaku said many Nigerians in urban centres take some of these things for granted, but in the rural areas, “they are luxuries, which are hard to come by.”
He urged the government and stakeholders in the health sector to look deeply into the PHCs and make available facilities and human capital needed to make them function well to enable pregnant women have access to quality healthcare services at the grassroots to reduce the rate of maternal deaths recorded yearly.
In Northern Nigeria, many women die from pregnancy-related complications as many reports have exposed.
It is believed that this is because of the inaccessibility of health care facilities for expectant mothers, which is because of a plethora of reasons.
Poverty, early marriage big factors in Kano
In 2020, Daily Trust profiled a group of women in the Gwammaja area of Kano State, who had identified some of these problems around them.
The women, led by one Hajiya Amina Tanko, had first identified poverty as the foremost problem amongst them.
“Women and their relatives simply had no money to invest in antenatal care, or for safe deliveries in reputable hospitals.
“Among us, some died while giving birth or their children will die because some husbands will say they do not have money to take them to the hospital, and that was why we had to do something to help our members, so that nobody will be dying anyhow,” Hajiya Tanko said.
A Nigerian is classified as poor when he lives below $1 per day, which is about N400.