Obstetrics Expert Seeks Social Insurance Scheme to Combat Maternal Mortality

Funmi Ogundare

A Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, John Sotunsa has called for social insurance scheme and support to stem maternal mortality in the country.
Sotunsa, who is the Provost of the Benjamin Carson Senior College of Health and Medical Sciences, made the call at the 49th inaugural lecture of Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, titled, ‘Beyond Superficial Success: Holistic Approaches to Maternal Mortality’.
He stated that adequate social support would not only enhance positive pregnancy experience, but will reduce the risk of premature deaths by 26 per cent, as well as reduce depression, anxiety, stroke, heart disease and dementia.
According to him, “we can keep our women alive if we look inward and maximise our opportunities. What we have, know, and do can prevent majority of maternal deaths in Nigeria if we are available, consistent, ingenious, committed and sacrificing.”
He also stressed the need for a holistic and indigenous approach like the Ondo State government-driven Abiye Initiative to stem Nigeria’s maternal mortality.
The programme, he stated, will not only address all the delays affecting maternal mortality including delay in seeking appropriate care, but harmonise the efforts of primary and tertiary health care centres with the aid of government recruited and trained health rangers.
“Consequently, maternal mortality rate dropped in the first year of the Abiye project implementation to 100 per 100,000 live births, a far cry from the national MMR of 545 per 100,000 live births,” he said.
Sotunsa said it was high time all causes of maternal death were eliminated to change the negative narrative and called on government and private organisations to find ways of minimising the delays associated with high maternal mortality rate.
He said statistics showed that the delays in areas such as seeking help for pregnancy and childbirth, reaching specific facility as well as getting care and referral when needed were among major risk factors to Nigeria’s high maternal mortality.
He believes that improving accessibility, availability, affordability, and the quality of primary health care centres in the country would greatly improve the health indices, especially maternal mortality rate.

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