By Abujah Racheal
The Nigeria Health Watch, a nonprofit organisation, says community Maternal and Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response (MPDSR) will help to reduce maternal deaths rate in the country.
Mrs Vivianne Ihekweazu, Managing Director, Nigeria Health Watch, made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says maternal mortality or death is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days after the delivery or termination of a pregnancy.
WHO’s records show that Nigeria accounts for nearly 20 per cent of global maternal deaths.
Ihekweazu said that MPDSR would provide an avenue for stakeholders and decision-makers to be aware of the causes of maternal deaths and address them.
She noted that as a framework for monitoring maternal deaths, it would ensure the timely reporting and surveillance of women dying while giving birth in communities.
According to her, an 18-month long programme for maternal deaths in Nigeria was launched in January 2019, under the theme: “Giving Birth in Nigeria’’.
“It was implemented by a consortium of Africare, Nigeria Health Watch, and EpiAFRIC.
“The programme, supported by funding from MSD for Mothers, was implemented to investigate why women die while giving birth
“It is done to create a sense of urgency and use the data and insights from the review to catalyse accountability for the death of every woman in the country,” she told NAN.
Ihekweazu disclosed that the results of these findings were analysed in a community-informed maternal death review, the “Why Are Women Dying While Giving Birth in Nigeria?” report.
The Health Watch MD said that the report highlighted Nigeria’s high maternal mortality burden.
“ It emphasises on the prevalence of maternal deaths in communities, where there have been no previous systematic attempt to ensure that out-of-facility deaths were integrated into any routine review or what was formally known as MPDSR.
“In Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health adopted the MPDSR in November 2016 .
“However, state-level implementation of MPDSR is inadequate because it is focused on facility-based maternal deaths alone and sub-national MPDSR committees are unable to effectively turn the data into action.
“Consequently, this gap fueled the Giving Birth in Nigeria programme’s approach to carry out the review of maternal deaths in communities.
“This is with the involvement of family decision-makers, traditional leaders, religious influencers, health workers and government-level officers in inquiries, awareness and dialogue,” she said.
Ihekweazu noted that the Community MPSDR, as recommended by the report, was key to reducing maternal deaths in the country.
“Following the findings of the report, the following recommendations were presented for reducing maternal deaths in Nigeria.
“State governments should leverage traditional and religious leaders to build upon existing socio-cultural structures to speed up accountability for maternal deaths at the community level.
“Governments at all levels should put in place sustainable structures in local communities, so that community maternal death reviews are implemented and included in state-level MPDSR efforts in health facilities.
“Maternal health advocacy should be implemented at the community level through partnerships with existing local government health education departments and community leaders,” Ihekweazu said. (NAN)