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Prolonged obstructed labour responsible for 32% maternal deaths – report

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By Ruth Oginyi

Prolong obstructed labourer has been identified as one of the factors responsible for 32% of maternal deaths in Ebonyi state and south-east Nigeria, a research conducted by Safe Motherhood Ladies Association (SMLAS) in Ikwo and other local government areas of the state, has revealed.

According to the report released during a virtual meeting on maternal deaths community data in Ebonyi state, on Monday, by the NGO with support from Nigeria health watch, postpartum hemorrhage contributes to 36 percent of why women are dying while giving birth in Nigeria.

The report reads in part: “In the Ebonyi state baseline survey, 18 women were  randomly selected from a pool of pregnant women attending  antenatal care (ANC) classes and nursing women attending postnatal care (PNC) classes.

“These women were engaged on focus group discussions. The results of the Ebonyi state baseline surveys are fully dependent on the response from  these women.

“In Ebonyi state, according to results of the community- informed maternal death review, postpartum hemorrhage contributes to 36% of recorded maternal deaths, closely followed by prolonged obstructive labour, which is responsible for 32% of all maternal deaths recorded.

“Also, convulsions contribute to 13% of all maternal deaths in Ebonyi state, followed by infections from fever at 4% and complications from abortions at 2%.

“Further investigation revealed that cultural beliefs are impeding women’s ability to seek health facility for medical care during births.

“Also, widespread cultural belief by women in Ebonyi is that women, who have caesarean sections are weaklings. The women believe that they must deliver as the “Hebrew Woman”, revered in the pages of the Bible’s  Old Testament.

Dr Daniel Umezurike, Commissioner for Health in the state, in his presentation, noted that women must be supported in their demands for access to health care facilities to enable trained midwives  give them proper medical care. He said statistics alone are not driving home the message and leading to behaviour change. 

“Health facilities exist; however, health education and community sensitisation are crucial to ensuring that women and their families are empowered to alter their health-seeking behaviours to enable them to give birth in better conditions and prevent maternal deaths”.

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