Nigeria, eight others move to cut maternal, infant mortality

Pregnant woman PHOTO: Courtesy of

Disturbed by the high incidence of maternal and child mortality, nine countries – Bangladesh, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda – have committed to halving preventable deaths of pregnant women and newborns in their health facilities within the next five years.

Nigeria is next to India on the list of countries with the highest number of maternal and child deaths.The commitment, already sanctioned by a new Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF) and other partners, is aimed at improving the quality of care mothers and babies receive at these facilities.

WHO, yesterday in a statement y, said the network aims to strengthen national efforts to end preventable deaths by 2030, as envisioned by the Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy for Women, Children and Adolescents’ Health. The affected nations are to make good the intention by strengthening capacity and motivating health professionals to plan and manage quality improvement as well as improving data collection and increasing access to medicines, supplies, equipment and clean water.

The statement added that the nine countries had committed to identifying the actions they would take to improve quality of care and facilitate work with partners to deliver the vision of quality that encompasses equity and dignity.

To achieve this, the governments are to build and strengthen 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, newborns and children as well as work with all relevant groups to facilitate learning, knowledge sharing and accountability.

Director, WHO Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, Dr. Anthony Costello, noted: “Every mother and infant deserves to receive the highest quality of care when they access health facilities in their communities.”

Through a global learning platform, the Quality of Care Network will build a community of health practitioners from the facility level and develop evidence-based, yet context-specific strategies to improve quality of care, harvest implementation ideas and collect information and experiences about what was working.

According to the global agency, the period around childbirth was most critical for saving mothers and newborns as well as preventing stillbirths.

Every year, 303 000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth, just as 2.7 million babies exit in the first 28 days of life and 2.6 million stillborns persist globally.

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