Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Group Decries Worsening Child and Maternal Mortality Rate

Lagos — A nongovernmental organization, Christian Rural and Urban Development Association of Nigeria, CRUDAN, South West, has decried the worsening state of child and maternal mortality rate in the country.

In a position paper titled, Commitment to Family Planning/Childbirth Spacing for Healthy Families and National Development, the group's South West coordinator, Adesina Adeduntan, said CRUDAN's worry emanated from various findings it gathered from programmes it organised with civil society and community based organisations.

"Recent data reflect the poor state of maternal and child health in the country as they show that Nigeria is losing women and children as a result of high risk pregnancies (pregnancies below age 18 years, above age 34 years, birth interval of less than 24 months apart and birth order of 5 and above)," the statement read.

Citing United Nations estimate of year 2000, CRUDAN noted that about 52,000 Nigerian women still die every year as a result of pregnancy, delivery or post delivery complications, while out of every 1000 live births, 201 children die before they attain the age of 5 years.

The group further noted that if the worsening trend is to be mitigated, there must be a commitment to increase the use of family planning, child birth spacing methods (CBS contraceptives and natural).

"Evidence abound that Family Planning, FP/Child Birth Spacing, CBS will reduce 88, 400 of the current 340,000 infant deaths annually if women in any risk category avoid pregnancy. Also, the lives of about 13,000 women who die annually as a result of induced abortion will be saved if there is increase in uptake of Family Planning, FP/Child Birth Spacing, CBS services, among others," the statement read.

CRUDAN also urged government at all levels to show more commitments in improving the nation's health care delivery system through structural and legislative frameworks.

"CRUDAN hereby calls on government at all levels and other relevant stakeholders to: formulate Family Planning/Child Birth Spacing policy, enact laws promoting Family Planning/Child Birth Spacing issues, create budget lines for Family Planning/Child Birth Spacing and release allocated funds, promote and strengthen Public Private Partnerships for Family Planning/Child Birth Spacing programmes, support capacity building of service providers and the provision of equipment and commodities for Family Planning/Child Birth Spacing as well as and Include Family Planning/Child Birth Spacing services in the National Health Insurance Scheme," the statement read.

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