Experts in the health sector have said that the country can tackle the high rate of maternal mortality in Nigeria if it can build a sustainable healthcare financing structure and policies.
Speaking at a programme to mark the International Day of Maternal Health with the theme ‘Accelerating the Impact of Maternal Health Interventions’ organised by Hacey Health Initiative in conjunction with Access Bank, the experts say both the federal and state government have a huge role to play in tackling the issues of maternal health.
They identified poor health financing structure, lack of sustainable policies both at state and federal levels and socio cultural barriers as major factors influencing the high rate of maternal mortality in the country.
“Nigeria has an average of 576 per 100,000 child birth and this shows the country has high rate of maternal death,” Omolasho Omoseni, head Lagos Liaison office, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said in his keynote address.
“We need proper health financing structure and sustainable policies to aid interventions on maternal mortality,” Omoseni said.
He stated that most families in the country are currently living below the United Nation’s poverty line and lack the needed finance for healthcare, making them seek traditional low cost alternatives.
He called on the government at all levels to provide a sustainable financing structure for healthcare for all Nigerians while removing every form of disconnect between the Federal and State governments to make implementations and guidelines to improve maternal health achievable.
He commended Access Bank for partnering with Hacey Health Initiative, while calling on other corporate organisations to also invest in tackling maternal mortality in the country, noting that the rising trend would have been nipped in the bud with collaborate efforts.
Also speaking, Edun Omasonjuwa, Lagos state team leader, John Hopkins Centre for Communication Program and the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (JHUCIP/NURHI) said that there are lots of social cultural barriers to women accessing healthcare couple with systemic and institutional barriers.
“Women do not have the right to take decision on issues that affect them and if they do, they lack the information to make the right decision,” Omasonjuwa said.
“We need greater commitment from everyone to address the issues of maternal health and morbidity,” he said.
He urged corporate organisations and government at all levels to leverage technology to share verifiable information’s on maternal health.
Rhoda Robinson, director for gender development programmes, Hacey Health Initiative, said that Nigeria has the second highest numbers of maternal mortality.
Robinson called for sustainability in policies that are already building systems to address issues of maternal health in the country.
“Maternal health is to ensure that women have access to good healthcare before and after birth,” she said.