Multidisciplinary Approach Required to Curb Maternal Mortality – Unilorin Don
A Professor of Anaesthetics at the University of Ilorin, Benjamin Olusanmi Bolaji, has said that multidisciplinary approach of medical practitioners is required to tackle the rising spate of maternal mortality in the country.
Bolaji, who attributed the ugly trend to haemorrhage during childbirth, called for partnership with international organizations for provision of resources needed to practically launch the crusade against the menace.
He said this on the sidelines of the ninth scientific conference of the Society of Obstetric Anaesthetists of Nigeria (SOAN) in association with Nigeria Society of Anaesthetists (NSA), which began in Ilorin yesterday.
Lamenting lack of equipment and other facilities in public health institutions, Bolaji, who is also a Consultant with the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, noted that many specialists in medical profession are leaving the shores of the country in droves.
He observed that more of the professionals in the health sector would have to be recruited to help in the efforts at reducing maternal mortality.
“The leading cause of maternal mortality, specifically, is haemorrhage; pregnant women bleeding during delivery. One other cause is infection. If we are going to tackle the issue of maternal mortality, we need multidisciplinary approach; the nurses, obstetricians, anaestheticians and medical laboratory scientists will be involved.
“We need to collaborate and when we are collaborating, we even need international partners because of the resources they can give us. We also need to involve the community and promoters that can give us access to the communities. Of course, education and advocacy is important.
“There should be free access to specialist based services. Those are the areas we need to look into if we are going to reduce maternal mortality in Nigeria. We saw in presentation, maternal mortality is unevenly distributed in the country. It is highest when you move up to North, especially North West. In the South East and South West, it is low”, the Professor of Anaesthetics said.
The Permanent Secretary, state Ministry of Health, Dr Abubakar Ayinla, who represented the wife of the state Governor, Mrs Olufolake AbdulRazaq, at the event, said the conference came at the appropriate time because it was in tandem with the vision of the present administration in the health sector.
She explained that the state government had made resources available for safe motherhood with the resuscitation of primary health care centres across the state.
Mrs AbdulRazaq said, “We know that the administration of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has put a lot of things in place to ensure safe motherhood. The scope of Kwara is the whole 16 local government areas and to bring health more closer to the community. We look at things from the ward level.
“So, the government of Governor AbdulRazaq had keyed into basic health care fund. At that level, it ensures that one primary health care centre works per each of the wards. We have close to between 450 and 600 primary health care centres that are working effectively.
“But one would say that in basic health care, fund is specifically allocated to one PHC per ward, and enrollment is done in a way that people would get enrolled received free treatment.
“For children that are under five, pregnant mothers, poorest of the poor, the indigents and others in different categories. So, these are people that are captured in each of those facilities. Pregnancy is incomplete without the birth of a life baby, without the birth of a product of gestation. When we have that kind of system and government invests in it, you will see that what government is funding is also in tandem with what they (SOAN) are saying”.
The Chairman, Local Organizing Committee of the conference, Dr Majeed Babajide Adegboye, said maternal mortality and morbidity were prevalent within the circle of women of productive age and had contributed to poor health indices in a country like Nigeria.
He stated that anaesthetists have crucial roles to play in reducing maternal morbidity and mortality, especially during childbirth.
Adegboye said, “As we are aware, maternal morbidity and mortality are common among women of productive age in our environment. They both contribute significantly to poor health indices in developing countries.
“Given the unique experience of anaesthetists in resuscitation, peri-operative and critical care of patients, anaesthetists have crucial roles to play in reducing maternal morbidity and mortality, especially during childbirth.
“Hence, anaesthetists are regarded as very important specialists in the quest to achieve safe surgery and safe motherhood programme by the WHO, which makes maternal safety the centrepiece of this initiative”.