Abuja — The FCT minister, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, yesterday lamented the rate of maternal mortality in Nigeria, saying several studies have shown that Nigeria has a maternal mortality rate of 545 per 100,000 live births, infant mortality rate of 75 per 1,000 live births and child mortality (12 months to 4 years) of 88 per 1,000 live births.
"The country has an overall under-five mortality rate of 157 per 1,000 live births," he added.
Senator Bala also cautioned that if any case of poliomyelitis is reported in any area of the Federal Capital Territory, the area council chairman will be held responsible.
The minister dropped this hint in Dei-dei, a suburb of Abuja, while flagging-off activities to mark the Maternal Neonatal and Child Health Week.
The minister insisted that the affected chairman would only be left off the hook, if the councillor and traditional ruler of the affected community are produced to the authorities.
Senator Mohammed described as shameful the continuous appearance of Nigeria among the four countries still being inflicted by the dreaded disease.
He insisted that the elected local government officials and traditional rulers have an important role to play in the eradication of the disease, warning that all hands must be on deck to practically remove the name of Nigeria on that list.
Bala, who was represented at the occasion by his chief of staff, Architect Baba Mohammed-Dadi, decried the high maternal mortality in Nigeria, saying that the trend is unacceptable.
The minister remarked that the theme of the week: Optimal Nutrition: Key to Survival, Growth and Development, is aptly timed, because he learnt that malnutrition contributes to about 53 percent of all maternal, neonatal and child deaths.
"The week will afford the FCT administration an opportunity to make a change by putting in place, concrete activities that will further strengthen actions to address the current poor health indices," the minister said.
Senator Mohammed directed that, just like in other places, the FCT administration should shift from standalone vertical campaigns to more integrated approach to ensure that all stakeholders are carried along.
The minister further stated that the FCT administration places high premium on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 and that all necessary arrangements for the availability of the relevant interventions have been made.
Welcoming guests to the occasion, the secretary of the FCT Area Councils' Secretariat, Mr. Segun Awolowo who is also the chairman of the FCT task force polio eradication said that there is already an existing synergy between the FCT administration, area councils, private sector and donor agencies on various areas of health and human services delivery.
Mr. Awolowo expressed the commitment of the FCT administration through the FCT task force on polio eradication and routine immunisation to eradicate the dreaded disease.
He revealed that the task force will be re-invigorated to meet the targets set for the elimination of all cases of wild polio virus in the Federal Capital Territory.
The secretary disclosed that the incidence of the wild polio virus in the FCT has been crashed from nine in 2008 to one in 2009, and none so far in 2010.