‘Reducing maternal mortality remains global challenge’
GOAL 5, a policy aimed at reducing maternal mortality and improving maternal health remains a global challenge to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, Dr. Precious Gbeneol, has said.
Gbeneol said though the nation has recorded immense developments in other goals maternal mortality is currently moving at a slow pace of 4 percent.
The presidential aide disclosed this during a technical workshop of the MDGs Acceleration Framework (MAF) at the weekend in Abuja.
She said, “In order for Nigeria to succeed in achieving Goal 5 by 2015, a concerted effort is required to mitigate this growing in-country divergence. By comparison to progress in other goal areas for instance, goal 4 where progress is around 13% reduction per year, progress in goal 5 is only a 4% reduction per year.
“Maternal mortality is a travesty in today’s society, given the medical expertise available.”
She identified lack of equal supply of medical experts across the country as a contributing factor stressing that healthcare professionals are clustered in urban centres.
However, she noted that intervention schemes such as the Midwife Services Scheme (MSS) have had an effect in increasing the number of skilled health professionals present at births.
Describing MAF as timely, she added that her Office had to prioritise MDG 5 as the first goal to undergo the acceleration process. Maternal mortality has been selected due to the large in-country variation in progress.
According to her, MAF was designed to identify challenges that hinder attainment of the MDGs, after which solutions will be provided.
Gbeneol revealed that plans have begun to support pregnant women to access free health care services from conception to child delivery through increase in midwife nurses.
“In order for this tool to be successfully moulded to the Nigerian context, your input is required. You represent the different stakeholder groups who are crucial to decreasing the number of mothers dying in childbirth.
“Amongst you are representatives from all 36 states and the FCT. Your colleagues at this workshop are doctors, nurses, midwives, medical record officers, traditional birth attendants, health directors, representatives from NGOs, community health extension workers and village health workers, amongst many others. In this group, we have the collective knowledge on the impediments to progress across the country,” she added.
MAF is a UN tool designed to increase the efficiency of attainment through the identification of bottlenecks and barriers to progress in the run up to the 2015 deadline.