Doctors' summit to focus on maternal death rate
From Mike Osunde, Benin City
Worried by Nigeria's profile as second only to India in maternal death rate, the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON) said its conference next week in Benin would focus on improving maternal and neo-natal health.
According to SOGON officials, no fewer than 54,000 Nigerians women die yearly from pregnancy-related complications, as against one million children under the same circumstances.
Speaking specifically on the death rate at a briefing in Benin to herald the four-day conference, the chairman of the local organising committee (LOC), Prof. Friday Okonofua, said studies had shown that 800 pregnant Nigeria women die out of every 100,000 yearly.
That places Nigeria second to India in maternal mortality rate in the world. Pakistan follows Nigeria.
Okonofua said the one million Nigerian children who die yearly at child birth was more that the 900,000 population of Swaziland, adding that this figure showed the magnitude of the problem, which had prompted SOGON to make maternal and neo-natal health the theme of its conference this year.
He said although gynaecologists had been talking about the problem for 20 years, it is time to involve other stakeholders in the health sector to reduce the maternal and neo-natal death rates.
Okonofua, the immediate past provost of the College of Medicine, University of Benin, said women faced various challenges in the country.
These include poor access to family planning "so that if they don't need to be pregnant, they don't have to be pregnant."
He said in Nigeria only about 10 per cent of women who require family planning had access to it. Okonofua also said 30 per cent of the 64 per cent pregnant women who have access to antenatal care actually practice it, placing Nigeria among the poorest countries with antenatal care practice.
According to Prof. Okonofua, there is also the issue of women who did not have access to skilled birth attendants, particularly in the rural areas, while only 33 per cent of pregnant women are attended to either by a midwife or doctor at childbirth.
Okonofua said emergency care for pregnant women was almost non-existent in Nigeria and stated that Nigeria must emulate Saudi Arabia whose ambulance services are very efficient.
No fewer than 2,000 delegates are expected at the Conference while 99 scientific papers would be delivered.
Okonofua said the conference was expected to be one of the biggest in recent times and that scientists would come from within and outside Nigeria, including participation by donor agencies.
- Osunde, Mike. "Doctor's Summit to focus on Maternal Death Rate". En línea, 26/11/2007. http://www.guardiannewsngr.com/news/article13//indexn2_html?pdate=061107&ptitle=Doctors'%20summit%20to%20focus%20on%20maternal%20death%20rate.