Nigeria’s Mortality Rate Still at 576 Deaths Per 1,000 Pregnant Women


Chineme Okafor in Abuja

Reproductive health experts and advocacy groups have said Nigeria’s maternal mortality rate was still at 576 deaths per 1,000 pregnant women.

They also raised concerns that most state governments in the country do not have funds budgeted to advance family planning in their states.

The Coordinator of the Reproductive and Family Planning arm of Pathfinder International Nigeria, Dr. Habeeb Salami, stated on Wednesday in Abuja that although the federal government procures and distributes 13 family planning commodities to the states to reduce maternal mortality rate, less than 10 per cent of the 36 states complement this effort with funds to distribute the commodities.

He said this on the side-lines of a stakeholders meeting on advocacy for family planning in the wake of current economic and demographic challenges of the country.

Salami noted that in 2012, the United Nations Committee on Women and Children identified 13 commodities which it said can save lives if readily available in Nigeria.

According to him, three of such commodities remained key to proactive family planning and they are: emergency contraceptive; implant and the female condom which the Civil Society for Family Planning (CSFP), Pathfinder and the Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH) are promoting their use.

Salami said although many states apart from Lagos have lean budget for health, the present economic predicament in most states has worsened the prospects of funding for family planning.

“If I am to assess all the states, I will say less than 10 per cent of them in this country are the ones working hard on family planning, the rest are not,” he said.