Education likely to reduce maternal mortality

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A scholar at the Lagos State University (LASU) has linked the rate of maternal mortality to the level of education among women.

Oluwarotimi Akinola, a professor of obstrerics and gynaecology at LASU, said so at the 74th Inaugural Lecture of the university on Tuesday.

The don described maternal mortality as the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of a pregnancy form any cause related to aggravated by the pregnancy.

EduCeleb.com reports that both the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Federal Ministry of Health have identified Nigeria as one of the countries with high fertility and maternal mortality rates.

While the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target of maternal mortality ratio is 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030, Nigeria has 814 maternal deaths per 100,000 births.

The data showed that there is the national high fertility rate of 5.2 per average woman.

These are even higher when looked at on a regional basis with North Eastern and North Western Nigeria having higher rates in direct relationship with poor access to education for the girlchild there.

There is likely awareness about sexual and reproductive health among those who attended school than those who did not.

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Akinola stated that high fertility was a proven risk factor for most complications arising in pregnancy.

Among listed factors leading to maternal mortality to include obstreric hemorrhage, infection, eclampsia, obstructed labour, unsafe abortion and other direct and indirect causes.

He observed that fertility rate was higher than Nigeria’s gross domestic product with worsening poverty level and insufficiency of skilled manpower in the health sector may put more women at risk.

He called for increased women empowerment to increase their socio-economic status. With that, there may be reduced cases of teenage pregnancy and women would be able to make quality decisions regarding their fertility and health.

The don also harped on enhancing family planning or child spacing, reducing unwanted pregnancies and consequent unsafe abortion.

He proposed an increase in funding the health as well as education sector as a remedy.

While delivering his lecture, Akinola who heads the oncogynaecology unit at the LASU Faculty of Clinical Sciences also highlighted some of his contributions to knowledge in improving maternal health care.

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