By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The federal government has said that 67 out of every 1,000 live birth in Nigeria die at infancy.
Speaking at the launch of the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent and Elderly Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N) platform in Abuja recently, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said maternal mortality ratio is 512 per 100,000 live births, while perinatal mortality rate is 49 per 1,000 live births.
Stating that the health of the Nigerian women and children has not fared too well, he said: “ You may be aware of Nigeria’s poor health indices; the maternal mortality ratio is 512 per 100,000 live births, perinatal mortality rate is 49 per 1,000 live births, neonatal mortality is 38 per 1,000 live births, infant mortality is 67 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality is 132 per 1,000 live births (NDHS 2018).
“Female genital mutilation (FGM), gender-based violence (GBV), teenage pregnancy, unplanned pregnancy and unsafe abortion among adolescents, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 on the elderly, have all become major public health emergencies.”
Ehanire noted that increase in the prevalence of wasting among children due to malnutrition was an indication that a lot still needs to be done.
The minister however explained that the country has recorded some progress towards improvement of child survival and safe-motherhood through the provision of ready to use therapeutic food (RUTF).
He also said that federal government has sustained the family planning 2020 (FP2020) commitments to ensure availability of family planning services to women and adolescents of reproductive age.
“In the same vein, the operationalisation of the National Health Act, 2014 (NHAct) through the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), will greatly improve access to quality health care, particularly at the primary health care (PHC) level,” he said.
He added that the National Emergency Medical Treatment Committee (NEMTC) will provide emergency medical transport for health emergencies including pregnant women, to facilitate access to emergency obstetric care at the time of need.
According to Ehanire, the provision of emergency transport alone, has been demonstrated to reduce maternal mortality by as much as 50 per cent.