While the now defunct midwifery service scheme was adjudged by both local and international health bodies as the right tool for the reduction of mater...
While the now defunct midwifery service scheme was adjudged by both local and international health bodies as the right tool for the reduction of maternal and child deaths in the Nigeria, the abandonment of the scheme by the present government has been identified as the reason for rising infant and maternal mortality.
When the federal government in 2009 kick started the now defunct Midwifery Service Scheme (MSS), not few Nigerians, especially stakeholders in the health sector jumped to jubilation, as it was clear it would greatly reduce the abysmally high maternal and newborn deaths in the country. Specifically, advocates for maternal and child health saw it as a victory for the poor Nigerian mother, aspiring mother, newborn and the society at large.
The rave and happiness was not only limited to concerned Nigerians. The World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), International Maternal and Child Health Foundation (IMCHF), Global Organisation for Maternal and Child Health (Go-MCH), and several other health bodies saw it as the beginning of good things for the Nigerian mother and child, as they were particularly overwhelmed that the scheme would address the high maternal and newborn deaths recorded mostly in rural and sub-urban areas across the country.
Prior to the commencement of the scheme, maternal, newborn and child mortality was in an all-time high across the country. For instance, in Kano State, hospital-based maternal mortality was between 3000 and 4000 per 100,000 live births, while in Lagos State, where everyone would think the mortality rate would be very low, the case was almost as high as in Kano.
Specifically, Island Maternity in Lagos, South-west’s most populous maternity centre, was around 3000 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, according to statistics quoted from an IPAS survey.
It is even believed that those figures were hospital-based, as maternal death rates at the time were higher outside the hospital setting.
On a general statistics, if the report of the East Africa Medical Journal is to go by, it means, in 2004, Nigeria’s maternal and child mortality rate was about 96 deaths per one thousand live births in rural areas against 75 deaths per a thousand live births in urban areas. That is about 8,000 deaths per 100,000 live births on the average.
Experts say maternal and infant mortality refers to the death of mother or newborn due to pregnancy or childbearing from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or childbirth, but not from accidental or incidental causes.
It is in addressing the very abysmally poor indices that maternal and child advocates convinced the federal government, in partnership with states and local governments to establish the scheme with the aim of tackling all loose ends in relation to maternal and child health across the country.