Reducing maternal mortality in the FCT through primary healthcare services
BY DORCAS EDET
According to the World Health Organisation, maternal health refers to the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period. It is expected that each of these stages would be a positive experience so as to ensure that both mother and child are in optimum health at the end of the day. To achieve this, amongst other things, mothers need to be able to access quality health services rendered by health professionals during the stages involved in motherhood.
In Nigeria, statistics released by the WHO in 2020 indicate that the chances of a Nigerian woman dying during pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum or post-abortion is 1 in 22. This shows that maternal mortality is quite high in the country. Major causes of death cited include, high blood pressure during pregnancy, severe bleeding after childbirth, complications from delivery, infections following childbirth, as well as other indirect causes like malaria, heart disease and anaemia; all of which can be prevented or treated with proper medical care. This is where primary health care (PHC) comes in.
Primary health care centres should be the first healthcare providers that patients can contact when they have medical needs. The nature of PHC is such that they are mandated to offer preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative services to members of the community regardless of their age, gender, social class or any other social difference. A distinguishing component of the PHC is that it is an essential health care service for persons at the grassroots level and the health care provided is typically based on the peculiar health needs of the people in the community to the end that communities and the nation generally, can maintain good health. Nigeria has a total of over 30,000 PHC facilities, over 50 of which are located in the FCT. Also, there are about 14 basic components of PHC in Nigeria and maternal and child health care services form part of them.