The President of the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria, Dr. Habib Sadauki, said only about 50 per cent of Nigerian women utilise healthcare facilities during delivery.
Dr. Sadauki who said this while speaking with our correspondent, noted that there is a need for increased awareness in the communities to reduce maternal death in the country.
According to him, Nigeria is nowhere close to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals target of reducing the maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030.
He said Nigeria’s maternal mortality rate is still among the highest in the world, with an estimated 512 deaths per 100,000 live births.
He, however, said with increased awareness among women and equipped health facilities, maternal mortality and complications during delivery will be drastically reduced.
The gynaecologist said “Nationally, only about 40 to 50 per cent of women deliver in the healthcare facilities, and there are a lot of disparities.
“In the South-West, South-South, and South-East, more women deliver in health facilities but in the North-West and North-East, a lot of women deliver at home and they deliver sometimes with no one to supervise them at all.
“The health-seeking behaviour of mothers needs to be changed. Also, we need fully-equipped and fully-staffed health facilities with appropriate technology. There should be consumables available and affordable to manage complications during delivery.”
He also urged women to attend antenatal care so that they are screened for potential dangers.
“You don’t want them to develop malaria because malaria is dangerous to them and the baby and you optimise their blood count by giving them iron and folic acid. So, should they deliver and have a complication of bleeding, if they have large blood in themselves, they can survive it, and if they are anaemic and they have bleeding after childbirth, they can easily die from that.
“We also need to improve access to health facilities and supervision of trained health providers. There should also be transport for the referral of patients who have complications. As much as possible, mothers should deliver in hospitals,” he noted.
The World Health Organisation recommends a woman see her health provider at least eight times during her pregnancy to detect and manage potential problems and reduce the likelihood of a stillbirth or neonatal death.
“Antenatal care also offers an opportunity for health workers to provide a range of support and information to pregnant women, including on healthy lifestyles, preventing diseases, and family planning,” it added.