9 February 2010

Nigeria: 2,000 Pregnant Women Die Annually in Borno

Maiduguri — About 2,000 women die annually in Borno as a result of pregnancy complications and other related diseases associated with child birth.

A consultant Obstetrician/Gynecologist and an advocate of free maternal health care, Dr. Abdulkarim Mairiga, disclosed this at a one day stakeholder's workshop on maternal health care organized by the National Council of Women Society (NCWS) recently.

He said this development is unacceptable and called on the state government to wake up to its responsibilities especially in the areas of maternal health, adding that it is regrettable that a total of 153 women lose their lives monthly during child birth.

Mairiga said it is unfortunate that at least five women in the state die on daily basis and that the maternal mortality rate in Borno State can best be compared to three luxurious buses crashing every month and all the passengers dying.

The consultant gynecologist noted that the ugly development could have been averted had the state government been proactive and consistent in its policy of free maternal care as well as promoting sustainable free maternal health services.

According to him, the free maternal service launched by the Borno first lady four years ago has "been in comatose" for the past two years as women, especially the rural women now find it very difficult to pay for their health care services.

The problem according to him is further compounded as state presently has 33 General Hospitals, 15 primary Health Care centers, 147 Maternity clinics and 50 private hospitals, out of which only five General hospitals have amenities that partially support Basic Emergency Obstetric Care and comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Services.

He revealed that the maternal mortality ratio in Borno State stands at 1, 549 to 100,000 deliveries which mean in every 100 births, two women die and that the situation is expected to worsen with the growth rate of 3 per cent.

Earlier in her remarks, the chief convener of the stakeholders meeting Dr Nanna Chidi Emmanuel who is the Director Programmes, Reproductive Health and Advocacy for the CEDPA noted that government must do something to stop its annual contribution of 54, 000 cases of maternal mortality to the global statistics of half million cases annually, by embracing policies that meet with the WHO recommendation of 15 per cent budgetary allocation to the health sector.

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