The Kwara Government on Saturday inaugurated a steering committee for Maternal and Perinatal Deaths Surveillance and Response (MPDSR) on ways to reduce avoidable deaths of mothers and babies in the state.
Inaugurating the committee in Ilorin, Dr Atolagbe Alege, the state Commissioner for Health, said that the committee would track accumulated data on notifications of maternal and prenatal deaths in the state.
According to him, there are no correct indices on maternal and perinatal deaths in Kwara, and Nigeria as a whole, which makes it difficult to tackle such problems.
He said that standing focus was needed to discuss with the legislature on proper laws and adequate budgetary allocation for the committee to achieve its aims and objectives.
In his remarks, Dr Shukura Okesina, the Chairperson of the Steering Committee, said that Nigeria with a population of over 175 million was responsible for 10 per cent of the global maternal deaths.
“An estimated 33, 000 women die each year giving birth and at least seven newborns die and a further four babies stillborn,” she said.
Okesina said that researches on maternal deaths and perinatal mortality in Nigeria and elsewhere had shown that the leading causes of both were linked and preventable.
She listed the causes to include haemorrhage, infections, hypertensive, obstructed labour and unsafe abortions.
The expert said that there were no available data on the number of mothers and babies that died in Nigeria.
“This, however, necessitated the Federal Ministry of Health to mandate all the 36 states to embark on counting maternal and perinatal deaths.
“The goal is to look at those factors that cause deaths of mothers and their children,’’ Okesina said.
She said that the surveillance committee would reach all health institutions at the community, primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that members of the steering committee include Dr Michael Oguntoye, the Director Primary Healthcare, Ministry of Health and Mrs Adeniran Stella, the Director, Nursing Service.