Abuja - The Delta State reported it had exceeded the United Nations Millennium Development Goals targets on child mortality.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Health Monitoring, Dr Rukevwe Ugwumba, said the state had recorded “tremendous” decrease in maternal mortality rate to 224 mortalities per 100 000 births which is beyond the set goal.
“In accordance with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) health paradigm for 2013 which is set at maternal mortality of 250 per 100 000 births, the state has recorded 224 mortality per 100 000 births,” Ugwumba said.
The Special Adviser attributed the positive result to the free healthcare policy declared by the state government.
“When the Government started the free health care policy, maternal mortality rate in the State was about 550 but has receded in less than a year-and-a-half,” he said.
He added that even with the decrease, maternal mortality was still relatively high.
He explained that the reason for this was the fact that people still resorted to self-help through traditional methods.
“While efforts have been made to sensitize the people but so many are still not utilizing it. It is difficult sometimes because some people still prefer using traditional means, thus we are still recording some deaths but these people do not die in the hospital,” Ugwumba added.
He reiterated the need for people from the state to fully utilize the free health care services.
Research shows that about 200 of every 1 000 child born each year in Nigeria die before the age of five.
According to the United Nations Children Emergency Fund, Nigeria loses more than 830 000 children annually.
This is attributed to malnutrition, harmful cultural practices, lack of pre-natal care and access to family planning among others.
Reduction of child mortality is among the leading goals in the MDGs.
– CAJ News