-By Tobi Oyetunde-
The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has revealed that not less than 145 women die every day due to complications arising from childbirth that are preventable. According to Dr. Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director of NPHCDA, Nigeria ranks low among the community of nations making worst progress among 20 countries since 1990.
“Nigeria ranks embarrassingly low among the community of nations. Worse still, in the last 25 years, Nigeria made the 5th worst progress among 20 countries that had the worst maternal mortality ratios by 1990,” Dr. Shuaib said while speaking in Abuja yesterday.
He continued: “It is regrettable that there’s no basis on which to compare Nigeria with advanced societies In terms of maternal mortality ratios.
“It is with deep sadness, but a sense of responsibility that I want to remind you of statistics for maternal & under 5 child mortality in Nigeria -that every day in Nigeria, approximately 145 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy & childbirth.
“Every day in Nigeria, approximately 2,300 children under 5 die mainly from preventable causes.
“1 out of every 10 children less than 5 years old dies in the world is a Nigerian. 1 out of every 8 Nigerian children dies before having a chance to celebrate his or her 5th birthday. We are outraged by these statistics.”
The ED of NPHCDA bemoaned that the deaths largely occur among the poor adding that Nigerians need to “break the culture of silence over these preventable deaths”.
He said: “It is notable these deaths do not make daily headlines in the press, nor raise the same emotions as plane crashes.
“This is probably because these deaths are occurring amongst the poor, most vulnerable & voiceless in our communities.
“We need to break the culture of silence over these preventable deaths. We are convinced that if we do nothing drastic to reverse the trends, posterity will judge us harshly.”
Dr. Shuaib, however, declared a state of emergency on public health to tackle public health and also prevent a death that could arise from complications during childbirth.
He mentioned that a centre would be created to “provide oversight on RMNCAH + N activities at the PHC level” with the centre to be named as National Emergency Maternal & Child Health Intervention Centre (NEMCHIC).
“Having noted the high rate of maternal, newborn & under 5 child mortality & the insufficiency of our current efforts to reverse the trend, I hereby declare a state of public health concern.
“For every death of any woman related to childbirth, we will provide toll-free numbers for Nigerians to call; we will take steps to investigate such deaths & respond within the ambits of the law, in order to raise a sense of accountability,” he said.