Hacey, others list solutions to Nigeria’s high maternal mortality

April 19, 2019
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Martins- Mary Falana; Dr. Edun Omasonjuwa; Rhoda Robinson of Hacey Health Initiative; Dr. Omosehin Omoseni of UNFPA; Mrs. Abiodun Oguntuase at a seminar in Lagos

A non-governmental organization, Hacey Health Initiatives has called for more private partnerships in Nigeria’s quest to reduce the high maternal mortality rate in the country.

Director of Gender Development Program of Hacey Initiatives, Rhoda Robinson gave the charge while speaking at an event to mark the International Day of Maternal health with the theme: Accelerating the impact of maternal health intervention, organized by Hacey Health Initiatives in conjunction with Access Bank.

According to her, the infant and maternal mortality has been a recurring issue in the health sector that requires that all hands must be on deck, especially in the area of funding and awareness for Nigerians.

“As interesting as the issue might appear, going by the enthusiasm it elicits when the matter is mentioned in quarters, it is, however, shocking to read year in, year out of the alarming rate it assumes every now and then.”

She said her organization in partnership with Access Bank have championed and supported a number of activities and initiatives to create awareness among women on the need to seek medical assistance from qualified medical practitioners.

“One of such projects is the ‘Project Agbebi’ which basically help train Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA) and also help to improve the health and survival rate of women and children in rural communities.

While giving the keynote address at the event, Dr. Omosehin Omoseni of the Lagos office of UNFPA commended Access Bank for partnering with HACEY Initiatives, saying if other corporate organizations also invest their capitals in tackling maternal mortality in the country, the rising trend would have been nipped in the bud.

Dr. Omoseni said one of the most common preventable causes of maternal mortality is smoking during pregnancy, mother’s level of education, environmental conditions, political and medical infrastructure.

He said UNFPA over the years has been supporting the government of Nigeria in strengthening the supply of commodities for maternal mortality reduction through the procurement and distribution of maternal health life-saving commodities.

Another panelist, Dr. Edun Omasonjuwa, the Lagos state team leader for JHUCIP/NURHI, said the key issue of raising awareness among Nigeria is very important as many women are still reluctant in contacting qualified medical personnel due to traditional practices.

“If we look at the factors that contribute to some women’s inability to attend antenatal clinics in Nigeria, its boils down to the fact we live in a very patriarchal society where decision making is to the advantage of the male headed household.

He noted how the inability of development partners and national actors in Nigeria to mobilize women to take advantage of the services and supplies in the hospitals, especially in relation to pregnancy and delivery, pose a major factor that contributes to the maternal mortality ratio in Nigeria.

In her own opinion, Abiodun Oguntuase, a certified midwife with Lagos state General Hospital, Ikorodu said that government could help to bring down the mortality rate through appropriate financing and monitoring of the fund allocated to the health sector.

“There are lots to be done in the rural areas where they still go through unsafe traditional birth attendants to keep the maternal mortality rate down,’’ she said.

Martins-Mary Falana, a civil activist, said there is the need for government to focus more on the health sector, saying the meagre percentage dedicated to the health sector in the 2019 budget.

HACEY is a development organization focused on improving the health and productivity of under-served population in Africa.

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