Vanguard (Lagos)

21 February 2012

Nigeria: Maternal, Child Health Statistics World's Worst - Expert

The Director of Nursing Services in the Lagos State Health Service Commission, Mrs Jokotade Agunbiade, says the maternal and child health statistics in Nigeria are among the most challenging globally.

The director spoke on Tuesday, in Ikeja, at the 4th Annual Nurses Scientific Conference, which the commission organised.

The theme of the three-day conference is: "Maternal and Child Care: Challenges to Nursing Practice."

Agunbiade said: "The maternal mortality ratio of 1,120 per 100,000 live births is alarmingly high; therefore, sustainable solutions are urgently needed."

According to her, there is the need for a multi-sectoral approach to solving the current problem of high maternal mortality ratio in the country.

"Nurses and Midwives are strategic to achieving the goal of helping our mothers to enjoy their right to safe motherhood," she said.

Agunbiade said there were nine challenges currently facing nurses, manpower shortage, inadequate resources and cultural beliefs and practices.

She also listed the challenges of knowledge/skills acquisition, discrimination, communication and language problems, relationships, insensitive/inappropriate maternity services and inequity.

Agunbiade urged nurses to always look out for the challenges and endeavour to act positively.

The commission's Acting Director of Nursing Services, Mrs Victoria Oloruntegbe, said that except more efforts were initiated, the country might not be able to achieve some of the Millennium Development Goals.

She listed the major challenges as reduction of child mortality, improvement of maternal health and combating HIV/AIDS.

"It is a well known fact that the main indicator of a society's level of development is the state of its maternal health," Oloruntegbe said.

She expressed concern over the declining life expectancy in the country, noting that it was 47.3 years for the female.

According to her, the annual conference is a forum to train and update nurses in the country on new developments in global health.

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