- The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has explained that a new global maternal mortality report indicated that in Nigeria, 82,000 women die from pregnancy and childbirth-related complications annually.
Eduardo Celades, the UNICEF Nigeria Chief of Health, said this during a media dialogue on COVID-19 and routine immunisation organised by UNICEF Nigeria Office on Friday, in collaboration with the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
The report, titled: ‘Trends in maternal mortality 2000 to 2020’ was done by the United Nations Maternal Mortality Estimation Inter Agency Group (MMEIG) – comprising WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Bank Group and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (UNDESA/Population Division), and covers the period 2000-2020.
Celades explained that it translated to 225 deaths from maternal mortality every day, saying that it showed that the number of women dying from pregnancy-related causes was very high in the country.
The way out, he said, “involved a three-prong approach, which involves increasing effective investments in primary health care at the state level, as well as the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF).”
The UNICEF Nigeria Chief of Health further explained that the second one was to expand the National Health Insurance Scheme, stressing that it is a powerful tool to achieve Universal Health Coverage ( UHC ) and reduce maternal mortality.
He added that there was the need to target the most vulnerable, including women who don’t have access in hard-to-reach areas.
Celades lamented that Nigeria had the second highest number of zero-dose children in the world, while calling for the prioritisation of routine immunisation in order to protect Nigerian children from vaccine-preventable diseases.