New Telegraph

Don Seeks Reduction In Maternal Mortality

VC, Prof Ademola Tayo in handshake with Prof Sotunsa after the lecture

Disturbed by the frightening maternal mortality rate in Nigeria, a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, Prof John Sotunsa, has said raised an alarm over the threatening menace, saying that it is high time the causes of maternal death were eliminated in order to change the negative narrative.

He, therefore, called on the government and private organisations to find ways so as to minimise the delays associated with high maternal mortality rate.

Sotunsa, the Provost of the Benjamin Carson Snr College of Health & Medical Sciences of the university, made the call while delivering the 49th inaugural lecture of the private university, however, advocated an excellent, holistic and indigenous approach of the Ondo State government-driven “Abiye Initiative” as a right approach to stem high maternal mortality rate in Nigeria.

The title of his inaugural lecture is “Beyond Superficial Success: Holistic Approaches to Maternal Mortality.” According to the inaugural lecturer, the Abiye Programme initiated Ondo State by the former Governor Olusegun Mimiko, a medical doctor, not only addressed all the delays that affected maternal mortality, including delay in seeking appropriate care, but also harmonised the efforts of Primary and Tertiary Health Care Centres with the aid of government recruited and trained health rangers.

Consequently, through the programme, he stated that the maternal mortality rate dropped in the first year of the Abiye Project implementation to 100 per 100,000 live births, a far cry from the national MMR of 545 per 100,000 live births.

Sotunsa, in his lecture, noted that statistics showed that the delays in areas such as seeking help for pregnancy and childbirth, reaching specific facilities, as well as getting care and referral when needed were among major risk factors in Nigeria’s high maternal mortality.

Towards this end, the don expressed strong belief that improving accessibility, availability, affordability, and the quality of primary health care centres in the country would go a long way in greatly improving the health indices, especially maternal mortality rate.

Curiously, in his lecture, he recommended stronger social networks and support, as well as social insurance scheme, mentorship, communication and documentation to be properly consummated and situated to stem maternal mortality. The don further explained that provision of adequate social support would not only enhance positive pregnancy experience, but also reduce the risk of premature deaths by 26 per cent and reduce depression, anxiety, stroke, heart disease and dementia, especially among pregnant women.

“We can keep our women alive if we look inward and maximise our opportunities at our beck and call. What we have, know and do can prevent the majority of maternal deaths in Nigeria if we are available, consistent, ingenious, committed and sacrificing,” Sotunsa said.

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