The National Primary Health Care Development Agency has declared a state of Emergency on Maternal and Child Mortality. This was announced by the Executive Director of the agency, Dr. Faisal Shuiab while Presenting the Agency’s Strategic Approach to Rapidly Reduce Maternal and child mortality at the Primary Health Care and Community Levels.

Dr Shuaib decried the rate of maternal and child mortality in the world. “Worse still, in the last 25 years, Nigeria made the 5th worst progress among 20 countries that had the worst maternal mortality ratios by 1990. Over the same period, war-challenged countries with wide-scale humanitarian crisis such as Afghanistan, Liberia, Sierra Leone and South Sudan made better progress than we did”, he said.

The Executive Director said that the mortality statistics in Nigeria is alarming and called for prompt action. “It is with deep sadness, but a sense of responsibility that I want to remind you of the following statistics for maternal and under-five child mortality in Nigeria: Every day in Nigeria, approximately 145 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.

This is equivalent to having 1 Boeing 737-300 series aeroplane, fully loaded with 145 women crashing every single day in Nigeria, and killing everyone on board. Every day in Nigeria, approximately 2,300 children under 5 years die mainly from preventable causes. Similarly, this is equivalent to having 15 Boeing 737-300 series aeroplanes, fully-loaded with 145 children under 5 years old, crashing every single day in Nigeria, and killing all the children on board.

1 out of every 10 Children less than 5 years old that dies in the world is a Nigerian 1 out of every 8 Nigerian children die before having a chance to celebrate his or her 5th Birthday”, Dr. Shuaib said.

He said the agency is outraged by these statistics which are hardly reported. “From the foregoing, it is unconscionable for any of us to go to bed each night without a sense of urgency to reverse this trend, given our knowledge that these deaths are occurring amongst our mothers, aunties, children, relatives, neighbours, community members and citizens. We need to break the culture of silence over these preventable deaths.

He added that that the agency commits to urgently take action to provide leadership to rapidly reverse maternal, newborn and child deaths by half by 2021 through interventions that target the primary health care and community levels.

Also speaking at the event, the Emir of Argungu Samaila Muhammad Mera, said that as community leaders, they are saddened by the statistic. He said,” It is, therefore, a very happy day for us today that this declaration is made because we believe it is long overdue”.

Similarly, Chairman of the Bayelsa State Council of Traditional rulers, King Alfred Diete Spiff, said that pregnant women in the rural communities in Bayelsa state are encouraged to attend antenatal through the Bayelsa Initiative.