By Ibrahim Hassan

Over 10,000 health workers across Africa have tested positive for Covid-19, while 200 Nigerian health workers and 10 Nigerian doctors have been killed by the disease, a medical expert, Dr Abubakar Danladi has said.

Dr.Danladi, a Chief Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, spoke in Kaduna at the inaugural session of Chartered Institute of Health Economist (CIHE) USA and Conferment of Fellowship Awards themed; “Covid-19: Health and Economic Consequences on MNCH Services”.

He said the pandemic coupled with lockdown, reduction in the country’s income and health allocation, may lead to an increase in maternal and newborn mortality by 31% in Nigeria.

According to him, the pandemic could equally reverse the gains achieved in reproductive health generally.

“Covid-19 has potential to increase maternal and newborn mortality by one third (31%) based on historical antecedent and Ebola experience.

“This is because over 10,000 health workers tested positive for Covid-19 across Africa. 812 tested positive in Nigeria out of which 200 Nigerian health workers and 10 Nigerian doctors have so far been killed by the disease.”

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“We applied the same relative reduction in family planning use, antenatal care visit and facility-based delivery seen during the Ebola epidemic to estimate the indirect impact of the Covid-19 on maternal and newborn health in India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan over the next 12 months using Live Saved Tool. “

“The four countries are the most populous low and middle-income countries in the world accounting for almost one-third of the world’s population and continuously struggle with poor maternal and newborn health outcomes. Significant increase in maternal and newborn death and stillbirth would occur across these four countries over the next year if health service declined compared to what we would see if these countries maintained current use of maternal and reproductive health services,” he said.

“We could see as many as 31,980 maternal death, 395,440 additional newborn death and 338,760 additional stillbirths. That is a total of 766,180 additional deaths across these four countries alone and corresponds to 31% increase in mortality.”

“Nigeria’s MCPR (Modern Method of Contraceptives Prevalence) is currently 12%. The country’s target of 27% is further threatened. This will have averted 8,250 unwanted abortions, 1.5 million pregnancies, saved 90,000 lives and decrease maternal mortality by 33% and infants by 44% decrease complications of pregnancy and delivery,” ,he said.

Earlier, Country Director of CIHE USA and President Africa Association of Health Economist, Pharm. Galadima Abdullahi said the essence of inaugurating the Institute was to address the challenge of leadership in the health sector, reduce discrepancies and divergences and improve policy implementation by bringing all medical practitioners; doctors, pharmacists, biomedical scientists, biochemists and nurses and others under the same umbrella to focus on healthcare value and combine to save lives.

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