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

Nigeria Loses 82,000 Pregnant Women Annually to Complications – UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), latest report has revealed that about 82,000 pregnant women die annually from pregnancy related complications or childbirth in the country.

The new death rate arising from pregnancy-related complications doubled the figure released by the Federal Ministry of Health, just in March 2022.

The FMOH had said that at least 40,000 women in the country lose their lives to pregnancy-related issues annually.

The UNICEF Chief of Health in Nigeria, Dr Eduardo Celades, made the disclosure at the end of a three-Day Media Dialogue on COVID-19 and Routine Immunisation, in Lagos it organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Culture.

He equates this to the nation losing approximately 225 women daily to maternal mortality, necessitating urgent action from the Federal Government and all stakeholders to end the threat in the nation.

According to it, from 2000 to 2020, the global maternal mortality ratio (MMR) declined by 34 per cent – from 342 deaths to 223 deaths per 100,000 live births.

He said:” In the last few months and weeks, we got new data. The report is telling us that still, the number of women dying from pregnancy-related causes is very high. About 82,000 are estimated to die every year from maternal mortality.

“What we doing is to strengthen primary health care in the country. We hope that the data would help us in our response and the response with the government in Nigeria.

“The other one is the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, (MICS) an analysis where there is the main issue and how we can face them.

“The other new data is the global maternal mortality trends, 2000 to 2020. This is a new report that was launched a couple of weeks ago and we wanted to share that with you because we think this could influence how we work and define how we work with the government so that we can all align and we can have a common narrative.

Read Also: Malnutrition Rises by 25% in Pregnant Women in 12 Countries – UN

“We think that this is the new way of working. We are learning and we are trying to innovate. Nigeria is one of the most complex countries in the world in terms of the public health issues that it is facing.

“It is the second country in the world with more zero-dose children–the ones that have not had any single vaccine. It is the country in the world with high maternal mortality.

“Last year was the biggest outbreak in the world and Nigeria has an extremely weak health system. So, we are trying to think from different angles because we at UNICEF and the UN cannot move alone. To do that, we need the government to work with journalists and social media influencers to make the change that is needed.”

The UNICEF Health Chief, disclosed that the fund in collaboration with National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the Federal Ministry of Health will soon launch antigenes virus vaccines in the country soon, noting that the vaccine would immunise children from some childhood diseases.

He expressed concern that at the rate the country was going, it will not be about to attain target of SDG 3, by 2030.

Earlier, UNICEF Nigeria Communications Officer, Safiya Akau, noted that “the importance of journalists and the media in battling false information concerning COVID-19 and routine immunization cannot be emphasised.

Akau said that: “For the public to receive correct and timely information, to combat false information, and to foster a sense of community and solidarity in the face of any epidemic, journalists have a critical role to play.”

“UNICEF has been at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and other preventable diseases, promoting social behaviour change, COVID-19 vaccination, systemic health system strengthening, and routine immunization.

“To effectively communicate messages on these important issues, it is important to make the most of this media dialogue,” she said.

She listed the objectives of the media dialogue to include: “Identify and discuss the sources of misinformation about COVID-19 and polio, and its associated risks; Examine different strategies for reporting COVID-19 misinformation and polio vaccination, and dispelling myths and Provide guidance on how to use evidence-based resources and best practices when reporting on COVID-19, polio response, and routine immunisation.”

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