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Maternal Mortality: What Nigeria can learn from the UK’s approach

It is no longer news that women die unnecessarily on a daily basis from childbirth and pregnancy-related complications, but the most striking thing is how developed countries like the United Kingdom are working tirelessly to bring down maternal mortality rate.

Although Africa has made progress in the fight against maternal mortality, the task is increasingly onerous in low-middle income countries, particularly Nigeria.

Africa’s most populous country is among the ten highest number of maternal deaths globally, owing to ineffective policies that has created a gap between Nigerians and healthcare, thereby restricting access to quality and affordable health services.

Preventable deaths arising from complications like severe bleeding after childbirth, infections, high blood pressure during pregnancy among others, could be averted if urgent steps are taken to identify and address roadblocks making adequate care impossible.

With the present medical structure in Nigeria, a basis for its comparison with what operates in developed countries like the UK is found wanting. The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) is deeply established and offers health service for everyone living in the UK without being asked to pay the full cost of the service, says Chinenye Lumenze, a Sonographer in Obstetrics and gynecology in the United Kingdom.

Lumenze, a Nurse midwife studying at the University of Derby of Child and Family Health and Wellbeing, United Kingdom explained that the UK government is reducing maternal mortality through regular updates of statistics to support improvements in decision making when planning services for pregnant women, children, young people and families.

The nurse who is also a member of the Medical Missionaries of Mary (MMM), further explained that there is a package known as NHS pregnancy journey provided to accompany and support women through pregnancy until delivery and post-delivery.

She noted that the policy puts in place the various interprofessional and multiagency that must work together to ensure safe pregnancy, delivery and post health for babies and their mothers.

“So, while the health of every UK citizen matters, maternal and child health gains the highest priority. The system in place applies a cosmopolitan approach and multi agency working that favours high skills acquisition, good interprofessional collaboration, proper documentation and accountable services that are accessible to all involved in a continuity of care.

“To teach they say is to touch life forever. Educate the young girls and make provision for adult education and family learning for improved health outcomes. The UK government is making education accessible to all through the students’ finances that are reimbursable after an individual graduates and gains employment. Can the Nigerian government do this for her citizens?” she queried.

She postulated that for a better health care for everyone and reduced obstetrics complications and maternal mortality in Nigeria, the entire Nigerian system needs to undergo a very serious restructuring.

According to her, maternal mortality, child health and wellbeing cannot be improved without tackling poverty and ignorance.

“Let us embrace and promote collaborative working to enable transformational health practices that would modify people’s attitudes and behaviours towards their health and wellbeing. This transformation could lead to positive policy reviews and implementations that address factors that contribute to obstetrics complications and maternal death,” Chinenye added.

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