Obstetrics: Maternal Mortality safe motherhood

Obstetrics: Nigeria Is Now The Global Capital Of Maternal Mortality


Professor Oluwafemi Kuti, a professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, has bemoaned the high rate of maternal death in the country, saying that the development has made Nigeria to be one of the worst places to give birth to in the world.

Professor Kuti made this statement in his inaugural lecture titled, ‘That they will not labour in vain nor bear children doomed for misfortune: Efforts of an obstetrician and gynaecologist,’ on Tuesday. He explained that many women in Nigeria either die or become maimed during pregnancy and childbirth, while many of the children would not be able to reach their God-given potentials, because of quack doctors.

Professor Kuti stated that there was a reduction in maternal and perinatal mortality due to interventions by major stakeholders globally and added that 2015 reports by reputable global bodies, including World Health Organisation indicated a 45% reduction in maternal mortality.

“Unfortunately, in Nigeria, all these efforts and that of my older eminent colleagues have not translated to the expected reduction in maternal and perinatal mortality. In our own review of perinatal deaths in OAUTHC in 2003, the still-birth rate was 52 per 1000 total births, in a repeat audit in the same institution in 2017, one and half decades after, the rate was 51 per 1000 total births.”


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“At the end of the Millennium Development Goal, WHO placed a verdict of No Progress on Nigeria. Not only did we not make progress, we became the world’s highest contributor of maternal deaths, overtaking India with a total death of 53,000 in 2015. In 2019 report, not only did we maintain our role as the world’s capital of maternal death, we contributed 23% of the global total with a total death of 67,000.”

He insisted that Nigeria is not making any progress in the reduction of the maternal death rate because of the adoption of improper strategies to address the problem and called for the professionalisation of care by ensuring that only qualified personnel attend to all births.

Proffering more solutions to the problem, Professor Kuti also proposed that the National Safe Delivery Programme would involve interventions that would directly address the obstetrics complications which must be backed by enabling law to make it a national project.

He also called for strong political will to improve standard of health care at all levels of health services, and making the care of women during delivery and child birth completely free.