Don proposes model to reducing maternal mortality

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A professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Professor John Sotunsa has advocated an excellent, holistic and indigenous approach like the Ondo State government-driven Abiye Initiative to stem Nigeria’s maternal mortality.

Professor Sotunsa, who is the Provost of the Benjamin Carson Snr College of Health & Medical Sciences, made the call while delivering the Babcock University’s 49th inaugural lecture, Beyond Superficial Success: Holistic Approaches to Maternal Mortality.

According to him, the Abiye programme not only addressed all the delays that affected maternal mortality including delay in seeking appropriate care, but harmonized the efforts of Primary and Tertiary Health Care Centres with the aid of government recruited and trained health rangers.

Consequently, maternal mortality rate dropped in the first year of the Abiye Project implementation to 100 per 100,000 live births, a far cry from the national MMR of 545 per 100,000 live births.

In his paper, Professor Sotunsa said it was high time all causes of maternal death were eliminated to change the negative narrative. He therefore called on government and private organizations to find ways of minimizing the delays associated with high maternal mortality rate.

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He said statistics showed that the delays in areas such as seeking help for pregnancy and childbirth, reaching specific facility as well as getting care and referral when needed were among major risk factors to Nigeria’s high maternal mortality.

He believes that improving accessibility, availability, affordability, and the quality of primary health care centres in the country would greatly improve the health indices, especially maternal mortality rate.

He therefore recommended social network and support as well as social insurance scheme to stem maternal mortality. Others were mentorship, communication and documentation.

According to him, adequate social support would not only enhance positive pregnancy experience but reduce the risk of premature deaths by 26% as well as reduce depression, anxiety, stroke, heart disease and dementia.

“We can keep our women alive if we look inward and maximize our opportunities,” he said.

“What we have, know, and do can prevent majority of maternal deaths in Nigeria if we are available, consistent, ingenious, committed and sacrificing.”

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