The Nigerian government has set up a task force to coordinate strategies for reducing pregnancy related deaths among women. The 36-member task force will focus on six states of the country with the highest maternal mortality cases. The states had been found to have the worst maternal health indicators, using skilled Birth Attendance Rate, SBAs, as a proxy indicator. They are Yobe, 10.2 per cent; Kebbi, 9.3 per cent; Katsina, 7.7 per cent; Jigawa,7.6 per cent; Zamfara, 6.1 per cent; and Sokoto, 5.4 per cent. The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, at the inauguration of the task force on Tuesday in Abuja, said the government intends to bring focus on maternal mortality ratio, MMR, in the country, with the slogan: “No Woman Should Die Giving Birth.” Mr. Adewole, a professor of gynaecology, lamented the high prevalence of MMR in Nigeria. The task force has three months to turn in an interim report on its activities in the six states, using Kaduna and Oyo states as control model. “I am very particular about the health of the women and it is highly unacceptable that at this age Nigeria still ranks high in the MMR prevalence rate in the world,” he said.nHe said the task force should to go to the field to work on how to reduce the high MMR rate in the country, “especially in those six states, because they have the highest population of women who die due to childbirth-related illnesses.” “With the report of the task force, the project will be converted into a nationwide campaign because Nigeria as a whole has a very high MMR. This is seen as part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, SDG, to reduce Maternal Mortality to 70 deaths per 100,000 lives in 2030. “We need your team to go to the field to propound solutions on how the country can reduce the high mortality ratio as it is unacceptable, especially 30 years after the world has been working on reducing the number of women who die during childbirth. “The MMR of a country speaks a lot on how much the country is spending on its health care and the death rate recorded in the country has shown that there is still lot to be done. The maternal mortality ratio in Nigeria remains high despite the significant reduction in Maternal Mortality globally in the past one and a half decades,” he stated. The World Health Organisation describes maternal mortality as the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes.

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