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Nigeria and other sub-Saharan countries account 97% of global preventable maternal mortality cases.

Maternal Mortality: Nigeria, Others Contribute Towards 97% Of Global Preventable Cases

As over 1,500 global stakeholders convened at the International Maternal and Newborn Health Conference (IMNHC2023), health experts bemoaned the fact that Nigeria is among the sub-Saharan African countries that contribute towards 97 percent of preventable maternal mortality cases.

Disclosing this was Dr. Koki Agarwal, Director, MOMEN­TUM Country and Global Lead­ership, who raised the alarm that progresses in reducing the number of maternal deaths worldwide in recent years is marginal and inadequate to meet the global United Nations (UN) SDGs targets.

Dr. Agarwal, who is also a phy­sician and seasoned public health practitioner, therefore called for increased collaboration and in­vestment to improve maternal and newborn healthcare.

She spoke in Cape Town, South Africa on Sunday, May 7, on the eve of commencement of the first International Maternal and Newborn Health Conference (IMNHC2023).

Dr. Agarwal, who also dou­bles as a public health expert, spoke while addressing a group of health journalists on her pre­sentation on the state of maternal and newborn health, titled, ‘Global Maternal and Newborn Health in a Changing World.’

SDG 3 aims to prevent needless suffering from prevent­able diseases and premature death by focusing on key targets that boost the health of a coun­try’s overall population.

The Vice President, DC Opera­tions, Johns Hopkins Programme for International Education in Gynecology and Obstetrics (Jh­piego), elaborated the global and national goals for maternal and neonatal mortality.

Giving the SDGs country tar­get, she said, “The supplementary national target is that no country should have an MMR greater than 140 per 100,000 live births (a num­ber twice the global target) by 2030.

Read Also: UNICEF: 7.3 Million Nigerian Girls, Women Undernourished, Worsening Maternal Mortality

“By 2030, all countries should reduce MMR by at least two-thirds of the 2010 baseline. National Neonatal Mortality Rate (NMR) 12 deaths per 1000 live births by 2030 (<10 by 2035) National Stillbirth Rate (SBR)<12 stillborn per 1.000 total births by 2020(< 10 by 2035).”

Giving the breakdown of SDG 3.1, she said, “By 2030, countries are expected to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births; and no country should have an MMR> 140 per 100,000 live births.”

On SDG 3.2, Dr. Agarwal said, “By 2030, countries are expect­ed to end preventable deaths of newborns and children under five years of age, with all coun­tries aiming to reduce neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1.000 live births.”

Analysing the global mater­nal and newborn child mortality rates, Dr. Agarwal said although there has been some progress over the last few years, challenges still remain.

“Progress is incredible. For example, in the last 30 years, glob­al maternal deaths have dropped dramatically by more than 40 percent.” Similarly, she noted that declines were seen for newborn deaths.

Dr. Agarwal stressed, “But overall, progress is too slow to meet these goals in many places, and global averages measuring progress hide important differ­ences among regions and coun­tries and, within countries, so­cio-economic and ethnic groups, as well as rural and urban com­munities. So now is not the time to let our foot off the gas.”

The Vice President of DC Operations, Jhpiego, cited the UN reports and stated that there has been a 34% decline since 2000, but it stagnated from 2015 to 2020 as maternal deaths stood at 287,000 in 2020.

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