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US agency decries maternal deaths in Nigeria

12 August 2015, 14:14

Abuja - The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has expressed concern at the shortage of skilled medical personnel such as nurses and midwives in Nigeria.

The agency said the shortage of skilled medical workers has severely constrained the delivery of timely and high quality health care, especially in rural communities.

USAID noted that in many parts of Nigeria, a shortage of skilled doctors, nurses and midwives had severely constrained the delivery of timely, high-quality health care, especially in rural communities.

“Community health extension workers, who are trained to provide community outreach, have replaced nurses and doctors in primary health care centers.

Links between communities and health providers have eroded, and with it, community distrust of health services,” part of a document made available to CAJ News.

It added that in 2008, only 14 percent of pregnant women in Sokoto State received antenatal services and 95 percent delivered at home.

Also read: USAID pledges to boost cocoa production in Nigeria

The document further show that the agency had established a functional community-based health programme that promoted healthy household practices and expanded access to and use of facility-based services, and trained a new cadres of skilled community-based health volunteers to implement it.

“With support from USAID, Sokoto worked with ward development committees to identify, train, and support 2 440 women volunteers to promote positive health-seeking behaviors and extend basic health services in resource-poor areas of the state. Discussions with the Sokoto State government to sustain the volunteer program are ongoing,” the agency said.

The American agency said 35 000 Nigerian women who died in childbirth in 2014 accounted for 13 percent of the global maternal deaths that year.

- CAJ News

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