Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), has decried the high rate in maternal and child mortality rate in the country.
Shuaib made the condemnation on Monday in Abuja, while presenting the agency’s strategic approach to rapidly reduce maternal and child mortality at community levels.
The executive director declared a state of public health concern on maternal, new born and child deaths occurring at primary health care (PHC) and community levels.
“Every day in Nigeria, approximately 145 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, this is equivalent to having 1 Boeing 737-300 series airplane, fully loaded with 145 women crashing every single day in Nigeria, killing everyone on board.
“Every day in Nigeria, approximately 2,300 children under five years die mainly from preventable causes.
“Similarly, this is equivalent to having 15 Boeing 737-300 series airplanes fully loaded with 145 children under five years old, crashing every single day in Nigeria and killing all the children on board.
“One out of every eight Nigerian children dies before having a chance to celebrate his or her 5th birthday.
“Having noted the high rate of maternal, new born and under-five child mortality and the insufficiency of our efforts to reverse the trend, I hereby declare a state of public health concern on maternal, new born and child deaths occurring at the primary health care (PHC) and community levels.”
Shuaib said the establishment of a National Coordination Centre within the NPHCDA to provide oversight on Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child, Adolescent Health plus Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) activities at PHC level, would help tackle the challenge of preventable deaths.
Also, a traditional ruler from Bayelsa His Royal Highness Alfred Diette-Spiff, who was a special guest at the event, commended efforts by the federal and some state governments to address mortality rates.
He said child birth should be a pleasant experience for mothers and a happy moment for the family and the nation.
“Child birth should be a very pleasant experience for mothers and a happy occasion for the family and nation, but when you have to say a prayer instead as though the mothers are being condemned; it is time we take action.
“I am happy that the Federal Government has risen to this challenge and taken the bold step to get all of us together.
“Some states have also taken the bold step already; our state Bayelsa has launched their programme about 6-7 weeks ago.
“Every pregnant woman is put on a small stipend to encourage them go for ante-natal.
“So this is the right step in the right direction, as we have decided to take the bull by the horn, and having put our hands to the plough, there is no turning back”.
Dr Eugene Kongnyuy, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Acting Country Representative, said the new project aligns with the vision of UNFPA, and its three transformative resources, one of which he said was to prevent or end maternal deaths.