Coronavirus (835) 'COVID-19 Has Worsened Maternal Mortality Rate In Nigeria' – NPC Chairman

18 July, 2020

In this COVID-19 pandemic season it is unusual to refer to the 'traditional' causes of maternal, child and other mortality and morbidity in LMICs like Nigeria. This is why the News we share below from Nigeria should interest all stakeholders interested in Healthcare in LMICs. Probably one reason achieving UHC2030 is at great risk. : READ ON

COVID-19 Has Worsened Maternal Mortality Rate In Nigeria – NPC Chairman

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On Jul 11,  2020  6:48PM

National Population Commission (NPC) says the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the maternal mortality rate of 556 deaths per 100,000 live births in the country.

The acting Chairman of the commission, Dr Eyitayo Oyetunji, said this on Saturday at a news conference in Abuja to mark the 2020 World Population Day (WPD).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that WPD is annually celebrated on July 11 to raise awareness about sexual and reproductive healthneeds of people around the world.

The day is an opportunity to take stockof the state of the world’s population, especially those often left behind, particularly women and girls and thereby determine the way forward to ensuretheir fundamental human rights are upheld.

Oyetunji, who said that this year’s theme of the WPD — Putting the brakes on COVID-19: How to Safeguard the Health and Rights of Womenand Girls Now”, affirmed that women and girls were worst affected by the pandemic.

The NPC chairman explained that COVID-19 had impeded women’saccess to reproductive health facilities, especially as logistics of getting tohealth facilities became negatively impacted.

He said that the COVID-19 lockdown had paralysed the informalsector of the economy, which women were mainly employed in.

He added that “although the pandemic is global, somecategories of persons are more affected, for example, the informal sectoremploys 80 per cent of Nigerians.

“And it is mainly made of daily paid workers who are worsehit by the lockdown.

“It is pertinent to mention that because most women inNigeria are employed in the informal sector, COVID-19 lockdown impacted morenegatively on them than the male counterparts.”

Oyetunji expressed concern over the state of poverty amongwomen, which resulted to anaemia occasioned by malnutrition.

The NPC boss, who identified anaemia as a major cause ofmaternal mortality, said over half of women from the age of 15 to 49 sufferfrom anaemia.

He pointed out that low usage of contraceptives, as well asunmet needs for family planning were major causes of Sexually TransmittedInfections (STIs) due to unprotected sex, unwanted pregnancies, unsafeabortions.

He then raised an alarm over the continued shutting down ofschools due to the lockdown, “which has the possibility of making more girls todrop out of school.”

Oyetunji, who reiterated calls to mitigate the challenges ofwomen and those left behind, commended the Federal Government for initiatingnumerous programmes to end the practices that negate the rights of women andgirls.

 “Some of these programmes include the Better EducationService Delivery Programme for Result (BESDA) aimed at rescuing the number ofout-of-school children in 17 states of the federation,” he said.

He assured the commission’s continued collaboration with theUN Population Fund (UNFPA) and other development partners to generate data toaddress cases of women’s health, nutrition, educational attainment and sexualharassment, through surveys and researches as Nigeria Demographic and HealthSurveys.

Mrs Ulla Muller, the UNFPA Country Representative, called forsynergy to end Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Harmful Traditional Practices(HTPs) against women and girls.

Muller, who condemned the family bias against the girl childand favour for the son, said that violations against the girl child werecarried out with the consent of parents.

She said that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a setback inUNFPA’s progress in the fight against GBV and HTPs.

Muller,however, called for renewed efforts by stakeholders “to change the narrativethat one out of every three women has experienced one form of violence or theother.”

Joseph Ana


@Health Resources International (HRI) WA.

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HIFA profile: Joseph Ana is the Lead Consultant and Trainer at the Africa Centre for Clinical Governance Research and Patient Safety in Calabar, Nigeria. In 2015 he won the NMA Award of Excellence for establishing 12-Pillar Clinical Governance, Quality and Safety initiative in Nigeria. He has been the pioneer Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) National Committee on Clinical Governance and Research since 2012. He is also Chairman of the Quality & Performance subcommittee of the Technical Working Group for the implementation of the Nigeria Health Act. He is a pioneer Trustee-Director of the NMF (Nigerian Medical Forum) which took the BMJ to West Africa in 1995. He is particularly interested in strengthening health systems for quality and safety in LMICs. He has written Five books on the 12-Pillar Clinical Governance for LMICs, including a TOOLS for Implementation. He established the Department of Clinical Governance, Servicom & e-health in the Cross River State Ministry of Health, Nigeria in 2007. Website: Joseph is a member of the HIFA Steering Group and the HIFA working group on Community Health Workers.

Email: jneana AT