Nigeria is Africa's most populous country, with close to 200 million people inhabiting it. Yet women in Nigeria have a 1 in 22-lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy or during childbirth or postpartum - while the risk in developed countries is 1 in 4900.
Maternal Mortality in Nigeria has remained high in the last two decades, despite the many efforts to address this issue. Currently, Nigeria accounts for approximately 20% of global maternal deaths.
In this post, we would look at the data relating to some country-specific issues surrounding maternal mortality in Nigeria, and we would look at how to solve these issues.
Nigeria is Africa's most populous country, with close to 200 million people inhabiting it. Women in Nigeria have a 1 in 22-lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy or during childbirth or postpartum - while this risk in developed countries is 1 in 4900.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the high number of maternal deaths in some areas reflects unequal access to health services and the rich and poor gap. And developing countries account for nearly 100% of global maternal deaths - with sub-Saharan Africa accounting for more than half of these deaths.
Currently, evidence suggests a link between the high rate of maternal mortality in Nigeria and the three forms of maternal delay. And they are:
Although there is relevant evidence to reduce maternal mortality in Nigeria through access to skilled pregnancy care, this evidence remains inadequate in bringing about a substantial decline in maternal mortality in Nigeria.
In a study, some authors noted that improving the quality of health services is way more than accessing just the supply aspect of care. They say that even with standard medical facilities, the maternal mortality rate in Nigeria may still be high.
And this is because an increase in a health institution's quality of care does not translate to increased utilization of health services by pregnant women. Most times, these women choose health facilities to use based on the perception of care and not on the actual quality of care they'll get.
For example, in Ota, Ogun State, several women believe that it's better to deliver in a non-institutional setting than in a modern facility because the traditional birth attendants show more compassion, care, and concern than the skilled birth attendant.
Also, in Giwa, the Local Government Area of Kaduna State, most women were not utilizing the health facility for child delivery, despite giving free maternal services to the public.
And one reason for this is that the health care providers possess a negative attitude, so the women would instead give birth at a traditional center or home.
Ultimately, there is a lack of population-based data on maternal mortality in Nigeria because the registration system cannot provide reliable estimates. And we, therefore, rely on forecasts derived from international agencies through statistical modeling. And these do not determine the quality of care or monitor any trends.
To better understand health care quality, there's a need to measure the hospital's rate and the women's perception of that quality.
After that, we can further compare the barriers to accessing healthcare and priority areas for health interventions. An excellent method would be to consider quantitative and qualitative research approaches when measuring a medical facility's quality.
We can achieve this by using different data collection methods, such as observation, community surveys, facility records, focus group discussions, in-depth interviews, and case notes.
This approach could even hasten the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of a yearly 7.1% decline in maternal mortality in Nigeria.
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