A report by the United Nations said the coverage of skilled attendance at birth in Nigeria showed only Imo State has over 95 per cent coverage.
The report titled, ‘Improving maternal and newborn health and survival and reducing stillbirth,’ published this week showed that the skilled in attendance coverage of births in Bauchi, Sokoto, Katsina, and Zamfara states is below 20 per cent.
The report noted that coverage of essential health services; such as having at least four antenatal care contacts, having a skilled attendant at birth, and receiving postnatal care within the first two days after birth is critical to help prevent and manage complications that may arise during pregnancy, birth and postnatal, as well as to reduce maternal and newborn morbidity, mortality and stillbirths.
The Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality and Every Newborn Action Plan coverage target is 90 per cent coverage of four or more antenatal care contacts; 90 per cent births attended by skilled birth attendants; 80 per cent early routine postnatal care (within two days), and 80 per cent of districts with at least 70 per cent ANC4, 80 per cent SBA, and 60 per cent PNC coverage.
“Nigeria provides an interesting case study to illustrate how attention to subnational disparities in coverage can help identify areas needing targeted focus. The country’s sub-national goal is for 80 per cent of states to meet the target of 80 per cent of deliveries benefitting from SAB.
“However, Nigeria’s equity gap remains incredibly wide: in 2022, only 22 per cent of states in the country met the target,” it said.
It said the estimates for 2022 and projections for 2025 suggest that sub-Saharan Africa will not reach the global target of 90 per cent.
The report noted that Nigeria has the second highest number of maternal, neonatal, and child deaths worldwide, after India.
Other countries with high maternal, neonatal, and stillbirth are Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Afghanistan, and the United Republic of Tanzania.
The report showed that progress in improving mothers’ and babies’ survival has stagnated since 2015, with around 290,000 maternal deaths occurring yearly.
The report showed that over 4.5 million women and babies die every year during pregnancy, childbirth, or the first weeks after birth – equivalent to one death happening every seven seconds – mostly from preventable or treatable causes if proper care was available.
The report also revealed that progress in improving survival has stagnated since 2015, with around 290 000 maternal deaths each year, 1.9 million stillbirths -– babies who die after 28 weeks of pregnancy – and a staggering 2.3 million newborn deaths, which are deaths in the first month of life.
“As is too often the case, vulnerability, fear, and loss are not spread equally around the world,” said the UNICEF Director of Health, Steven Lauwerier.
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic, babies, children, and women who were already exposed to threats to their well-being, especially those living in fragile countries and emergencies, are facing the heaviest consequences of decreased spending and efforts on providing quality and accessible healthcare.”