FAMILY VARIABLES AND UTILIZATION OF MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH SERVICES AMONG NURSING MOTHERS IN IKOT EKPENE L.G.A OF AKWA IBOM STATE

553

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background to the study

 Pregnancy is the vital event in the life of a woman. It needs special attention from the time of conception to the postnatal age and as such proper utilization. Mother’s health status during pregnancy and after delivery determines the health status of baby. The arrival of the baby makes a big difference to family life, bringing both new joy and new challenges.

Pregnancy and the period surrounding it is a dangerous time for too many of the 9.2 million women and girls who become pregnant in Nigeria each year. Over the last decade, great efforts have been made to improve maternal and child health in Nigeria with some improvements. Maternal complications and the poor perinatal outcome are highly associated with poor usage of skilled maternal health care services. Mahajan H, Sharma B. (2014). Pregnancy-related complications are the leading causes of death and disabilities for women aged 15-49 in developing countries. World Health Organization estimates that more than half a million women lose their lives in the process of reproduction worldwide yearly, with about 99 per cent often from developing countries (World Health Organization). Sub-Sahara Africa is responsible for more than fifty per cent of maternal deaths occurring in developing countries and lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy is extremely high, that is for every 26 mothers, one mother dies as a result of pregnancy and childbirth in Sub-Sahara Africa. (African Population and Health Research Center).

These outrageous deaths have been attributed to poor/lack of utilization of maternal and child health care service, hence the risk of women in a developing country dying from maternal related causes during their lifetime is about eighty times higher compared to a woman living in developed countries. Of the 40 countries with the world highest rates of maternal deaths, 30 are from Sub-Saharan Africa. Navaneetham et al., (2012).

Every year in Nigeria, there are about 40,000 maternal deaths which account for about 14% of the global total. A woman’s chance of dying from pregnancy and childbirth in Nigeria is 1 in 13. (World Health Organization).

The deaths of newborn babies in Nigeria represent a quarter of the total number of deaths of children under-five. According to UNICEF Nigeria, every single day, Nigeria loses about 2,300 under- five and 145 women of childbearing age. This makes the country the second largest contributor to the under-five and maternal mortality rate in the world. The majority of these occur within the first week of life mainly due to complications during pregnancy and delivery. (UNICEF).

The desired outcome of every pregnancy is always a healthy mother and a healthy child. During pregnancy, a woman can develop serious life-threatening complications.