DETERMINANTS OF MATERNAL MORTALITY IN GENERAL HOSPITAL CALABAR, CROSS RIVER STATE

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

The growing concern on improving reproductive health at the global level  has created a demand for  research  especially in the area of maternal health. Maternal health, which is the physical well being of a woman during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum period (WHO, 2011; Fadeyi, 2007), has been a major concern of several international summits and conferences since the late 1980s, which culminated to the Millennium Summit in 2000 (WHO, 2007).

          It is obvious that maternal mortality is a key constituent of maternal health. The World Health Organization in the international statistical classification of diseases and related health problems (ICD), has defined maternal mortality as the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of a termination of a pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental and incidental causes (WHO 2007; Ogunjuyigbe and Liasu, 2007; Khama, 2006).  It is within this conceptual framework that the Millennium Development Goal Target 5A, calls for a reduction in maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters by 2015. At its present rate, however, the world will fall short of the target for maternal mortality reduction because the data so far collated suggest that to reach the target, the global Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) would have had to be reduced by an average of 5.5% a year between 1990 and 2015.

Nigerian constitutes only two percent of the world‟s population, but Nigeria accounts for over 10% of the world maternal deaths, and ranks second globally only to India (Okonofua, 2007; Abdul‟Aziz, 2008). The status of maternal health is poor in Nigeria, defined by maternal mortality of 59,000 per annum due to pregnancy-related causes. This has been identified as the leading cause or determinant of death among women of reproductive age in Nigeria (Idris, 2010).

Although opinion differ on the determinants of maternal mortality, Herfon, (2006), noted  that the cause of maternal mortality is an outcome of nexus interaction of a variety of factors namely: the distant factors (socio-economic, cultural) which include; occupation, income level and illiteracy act through the proximate or intermediate factors (health and reproductive behavior, access to health services) and in turn influence outcome (pregnancy complication mortality).Idris, (2010) further identified other factors responsible for maternal  mortality as socio-cultural factors which include; traditional practices, norms, believes, education and religion.

Several attempts have been made in the past aimed at reducing maternal mortality in Nigeria, such attempts, especially by the Federal and state governments, have generally not proved very successful in achieving the desired results. Some promising results however have recently begun to be recorded through some  policy initiatives by a few state governments. In Cross River state, the state house of assembly approved a bill in 2007, guaranteeing free maternal health services to pregnant women (Shiffman and Okonofua, 2007). The state commissioner of health, who is an obstetrician and gynaecologist, played a central role in its development and adoption.

The introduction of the safe motherhood programme in 1995,midwife service scheme (MSS) in (2011) and subsidy reinvestment program (SURE-P) IN 2012 introduced a range of interventions which included antenatal care, labour and delivery care, postnatal care, family planning, prevention and management of unsafe abortions, and health education but still MMR has not been encouraging over the years and improvements are so slow.

The former state commissioner of health together with some senior obstetrician and gynaecologist, played central roles in creating this positive environment for maternal health. Hence , today  pregnant women in Cross River now assess free medical services in General hospital, Calabar as part of measures put in place by the state government to reduce maternal mortality rate in the state (Media Global,2010).  However, other states like Jigawa, as part of measure in checking maternal mortality,  have provided funds for the upgrading of obstetric care facilities in hospitals, the recruitment of obstetricians and gynaecologists and the provision of ambulances at the local level to transport pregnant women experiencing delivery complications to health facilities. The former executive secretary for primary health care, who subsequently became state commissioner for health, stood behind these initiatives.
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DETERMINANTS OF MATERNAL MORTALITY IN GENERAL HOSPITAL CALABAR, CROSS RIVER STATE

DETERMINANTS OF MATERNAL MORTALITY IN GENERAL HOSPITAL CALABAR, CROSS RIVER STATE