FG blames COVID-19 pandemic for high maternal death rate

The Federal Government says the COVID-19 pandemic alongside banditry, kidnapping and other security challenges, halted the progress recorded in the areas of family planning in the country.

It noted that the increasing rate of unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions, especially during the lockdown, have contributed to unacceptable health indices.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) of Nigeria is 814 per 100,000 live births. This means that the lifetime risk of a Nigerian woman dying during pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum or post-abortion is one in 22 in contrast to developed countries estimated at one in 4,900.

In her address at a three-day virtual media training organised by the Rotary Action Group for Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health (RMCH), the Director of Family Health at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Salma Anas-kolo, said: “It is noteworthy that Nigeria has over the past 20 years developed and implemented plans and strategies to address the country’s persistently low modern contraceptives prevalence, as well as the extremely high maternal mortality rate and morbidity. We have not made much progress.

“Nigeria is facing multiple challenges, which impacts negatively on the gains earlier achieved – the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other equally disconcerting issues like banditry, kidnapping and other security challenges.”

The National Coordinator, National Family Planning Campaign Rotary RMCH, Prof. Emmanuel Lufadeju, stressed that Nigeria’s very high maternal deaths are one of the worst statistics in the entire world and, therefore, urged all relevant stakeholders to prioritise advocacy and investment in family planning and contraceptive.

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