Nigeria and eight other African countries have committed to reducing newborn and maternal deaths by half in health facilities within the next 5 years. 8 other countries including Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, India, Ghana, Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire and Bangladesh – committed to reducing preventable deaths of newborns and pregnant women in their health facilities by half.
According to UNICEF, in Nigeria, 145 women die everyday, as well as about 2,300 under-five year old, representing a quarter of the total number of deaths of children under-five.
In a statement released February 14, the World Health Organisation, WHO, said by working to enhance the quality of healthcare babies and care mothers receive in their health facilities, the countries will work through a new Network for Improving Quality of Newborn and Care for Maternal, in conjunction with UNICEF and other partners.
To achieve this, governments will strengthen and build their national institutions, identify quality of care focal points at all levels of the health system, accelerate and sustain the implementation of quality-of-care improvement packages for mothers, children and Newborns, and work with all groups involved to facilitate learning, knowledge sharing and accountability.
However, according to Director, WHO Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, Dr Anthony Costello, “Every mother and infant deserves to receive the highest quality of care when they access health facilities in their communities.” Every year, 303,000 women die during childbirth and pregnancy, 2.6 million babies are stillborn and 2.7 million babies die during the first 28 days of life. Most of these deaths could be avoided with quality care during child birth and pregnancy.