Nigeria Health Watch: Mothers Lives Matter – A Call to Action to Catalyse Accountability for Maternal Deaths in Nigeria

13 April, 2019

I would like to recommend this feature article from Nigeria Health Watch. Extracts and a comment from me below. Full text here:

https://nigeriahealthwatch.com/mothers-lives-matter-a-call-to-action-to-...

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"In Rwanda, a combination of community-based health insurance, community health workers, and good external partnerships led to the steepest reductions in maternal mortality ever recorded." President Kagame of Rwanda at the WHO General Assembly in Geneva, 2018...

Every day, 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth around the world. A more familiar scenario to describe this would be if a Boeing 747 aircraft crashed and all the passengers died, every single day...

19% of the 358,000 annual global maternal deaths occur in Nigeria. Put differently, there are at least 50,000 maternal deaths per year in Nigeria. These abysmal figures succinctly depict the deepened crisis that Nigeria has continuously faced over the years...

Nigeria’s most vulnerable women and children have continuously faced barriers to accessing quality health care at the right time. Many health facilities lack appropriately trained healthcare workers... With only 35% of births occurring in health facilities, several births occur outside of these health facilities without the supervision of skilled health personnel...

In 2017, Nigeria Health Watch launched the #GivingBirthInNigeria campaign, curating stories of infant and maternal mortality in Nigeria. As we continue to share the faces behind these statistics, we launch a new project fittingly called- Giving Birth In Nigeria. This is to enable a system where government at all levels, communities, social groups, healthcare providers and families are more accountable for safer deliveries. Where the outcomes are adverse, every maternal death, wherever it occurs, should be counted and investigated. Lessons learned should be used to take corrective action and drive improvements in maternal care. The project is a rallying call for greater accountability for maternal deaths, aimed at key stakeholders, primarily at the community level, who encounter women at various touchpoints of their pregnancy...

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Kudos to Nigeria Health Watch for an excellent feature and for tackling this hugely important issue. Every woman who gives birth in Nigeria (and anywhere else) needs access to a fully trained, informed, and supported health professional. The reality is that many women are delivered by untrained traditional birth attendants. How to increase the availability of high-quality facility-based care and thereby encouragemore women to use facilities? And, for those who deliver at homeor in the community, how to increase safety for mother and child?

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org