184321 Maternal morbidity and mortality in Nigeria: A multi-faceted context

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gilda Sedgh, ScD , Research, Guttmacher Institute, New York, NY
Akinrinola Bankole, PhD , Research, Guttmacher Institute, New York, NY
Rubina Hussain, MPH , Research, Guttmacher Institute, New York, NY
Susheela Singh, PhD , Research, Guttmacher Institute, New York, NY
Maternal mortality is widely recognized internationally as a priority for urgent policy and program action. Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa and an influential part of West Africa, has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. As a response in 2006, Nigeria introduced the National Gender Policy which includes an objective to reduce maternal mortality by 35% by 2015. Its success depends largely on an understanding of current conditions, recent trends and obstacles to achieving maternal health. This report seeks to answer these questions by examining findings from the Demographic and Health Surveys of 1990 and 2003 as well as data from other sources. Findings indicate that the country has become more urban and that education of women has improved dramatically; however, fertility has changed very little, unplanned childbearing is on the rise, the incidence of high-risk births remains largely unchanged, and levels of prenatal care have improved only nominally in thirteen years. Other findings, which might underlie these problems, are that (i) women's ability to make autonomous decisions about their heath care is limited and (ii) spending on health care is very low in Nigeria, with private expenditures comprising by far the largest component of total expenditures. The analyses also make clear that progress has been uneven across the regions of this culturally heterogeneous country. If women's health and well-being are to improve in Nigeria, the government must invest in informed and sustainable strategies to enable women to access the care and services they need.

Learning Objectives:
1. Document changes over time in key available indicators of maternal morbidity and mortality and in related public policies, laws, regulations, programs and funding in Nigeria 2. Increase awareness among local and global stakeholders of the reproductive health status of Nigerian women 3. Highlight gaps in policies and programs to address maternal morbidity and mortality, as well as challenges with the implementation of current programs

Keywords: Maternal Morbidity, Maternal Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Senior Research Associate at the Guttmacher Institute and the lead investigator in Nigeria component of the study from which the submitted paper is derived. I have a ScD in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health and my prior research experience includes several authored or co-authored papers, including papers on reproductive health and abortion in Nigerian women, unmet need for contraception in developing countries and abortion levels and trends worldwide. Recent publications include: Sedgh et al, Induced abortion: rates and trends worldwide, Lancet, 2007, 370(9595):13381345 and Sedgh et al, Unwanted Pregnancy and Associated Factors Among Nigerian Women, International Family Planning Perspectives, 2006, 32(4):175184.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.