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Nigeria’s infant/maternal mortality drops

By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—NATIONAL Consultant/Project Adviser to the Midwives Services Scheme, MSS, Dr. Ugo Okoli, yesterday in Benin disclosed that infant/maternal mortality rate in Nigeria has dropped from 800 deaths per 100,000 to 545 deaths per 100,000.

She disclosed this to newsmen shortly after yesterday’s session of Training of Trainers Workshop on Life Saving Skills for Midwives organized by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, NPHCDA.

Dr. Okoli said that although the figure as released in 2009 by the National Population Commission was not so good,  with the employment of no fewer than 2,488 midwives distributed to selected facilities through out the country, it was expected that there would be a reduction in infant/maternal mortality rate in the country in the next two years

Besides, she attributed the reduction in infant/maternal mortality rate in the country to the collation of date correctly, commitment of people wherever they are to ensure adequate training of traditional birth attendants and others involved in obstetrics , NGOs, the World Health Organization, WHO, UNICEF among others in the scheme.

According to her, “the Midwives Services Scheme is a Federal Government programme, which just stated in June 2009. It has actually employed midwives to serve in the rural areas of the country to reduce infant/maternal mortality rate in the country”.

“So, what we are doing here today is a workshop training for trainers. We called it a training the trainers session and they are obstetrician midwife tutors from health training institutions so that they can go back to their institutions and train midwives for the Life Saving Scheme”.

She disclosed that enough incentives had been given to those employed under the scheme just as some states of the federation even took a step further by increasing the N30,000 stipends paid by the Federal Government to those serving in their states.

Earlier in his address, the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Muhammed Ali Pate, said that the issue of providing adequate manpower in the primary health sector was  its effort at qualitative healthcare to the populace and has been one of the challenges facing the country.

Saying that the successful enlistment and deployment of midwives into the scheme was no small achievement, he added that the agency had identified the provision of quality care by the midwives as a task that must be accomplished.

“With over 2,488 midwives deployed to 652 facilities, there is the need to ensure that the proposed training on Life Saving Skills and Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses go on smoothly. The midwives must also be made to understand the importance of remaining at their duty posts to provide services for which they have been engaged”, he said.


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