ISSUED AT A ONE-DAY NATIONAL SEMINAR / CONSULTATIVE MEETING ORGANISED BY
FEDERAL MINISTRY OF HEALTH IN COLLABORATION WITH THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON
HEALTH AND THE CENTER FOR DEVELOPMENT AND POPULATION ACTIVITIES (CEDPA) ON
THE 24TH OF MAY 2006 TO MARK THE NATIONAL SAFE MOTHERHOOD DAY AT
THE SHERATON HOTEL AND TOWERS, ABUJA ON THE THEME: REPOSITIONING MATERNAL
AND NEONATAL MORTALITY REDUCTION AS A NATIONAL PRIORITY
Maternal and neonatal
health concerns have emerged as the most important issues that determine
global and national well-being. This is because every individual, family and
community is at some point intimately involved in pregnancy and the success
of childbirth (WHO 2006). With an alarming rate of about 800 maternal
deaths per 100,000 live births, this issue is indeed a National emergency.
According to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief
Olusegun Obasanjo, current rates are unacceptable and must be reversed.
The Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with the House
Committee on Health and the Centre for Development and Population Activities
(CEDPA) organized a one-day seminar/consultative meeting on
Repositioning Maternal and Neonatal Mortality Reduction as a National
Priority. The event was supported by the David and Lucille Packard
Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation.
Moderator, Mrs Eugenia Abu, Manager NEWS, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA)
called the house to order at 9.55 a.m. The occasion chaired by Honourable Dr
Aminu Safana, Chair, House of Representatives Committee on Health,
attracted a lot of dignatories including Mrs Sarah Jubril, Nigeria’s first
Presidential Candidate, Senator Daisy Danjuma, Chair, Senate Committee on
Women Affairs, Honourable Saudatu Sani, Chair, House Committee on Women
Affairs, Honourable Wale Okediran, President, Association of Nigeria
Authors (ANA), Dr Adeyemi, FMOH, Prof Emmanuel Otolorin , Senior Regional
Technical Officer, JHPIEGO, Hon Dr. Gyang D. Dantong, Member, House of
Representatives Committee on Health, Chief (Mrs) Kolade, a CEDPA Alumnus and
the Iyalode of Osogbo, the Donor Community, Directors and staff of
Development Organisations and the UN, CEDPA partners from all over the
country and the media. Participants numbered over 300.
Situation Report on
Maternal Mortality and Neonatal Mortality - FMOH: Dr. Moji Odeku, FMOH
Situation Report on
Neonatal Mortality - Dr. Esther Obinya, UNICEF
Key Note Address:
Repositioning Maternal and Neonatal Reduction as a National Priority - Prof.
Oladapo Ladipo, President/CEO, ARFH and Dr. Mairo Mandara, Senior Country
Advisor, David and Lucille Packard Foundation
Making Pregnancy and
Child Birth Safe: The WHO Initiative - Dr. Sola Odujinrin, RH Advisor, WHO
and Neonatal Mortality Reduction through Good Governance Mr. Jimi Agbaje,
Gubernatorial Aspirant, Lagos State
Protecting Women and
Children’s Right to Life: The Role of Parliamentarians - Hajiya Bilkisu
Yusuf, Executive Secretary,
Defending Women and
Children’s Right to Life through Political Participation - Lady Ime Udom,
NEC Member, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Budget Tracking and
access to Maternal and Neonatal Healthcare: Exploring the Linkages - Hilary
Ogbonna, Budget Advocacy Coordinator, ActionAid International
NigeriaHarnessing the Power of Communities to hold Elected Officers
Accountable for Maternal and Child Health - Ejiro Joyce Otive-Igbuzor,
Director, CEDPA NIGERIA
Meeting observed as follows:
The problem of
maternal deaths (death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of
termination of pregnancy) in Nigeria at 800 maternal deaths per 100,000 live
births is a national
emergency. The position
of Nigeria as the second largest contributor to maternal deaths in the world
after India demands urgent action.
The fact that one out
of every five Nigerian child dies before his/her fifth birthday is
The HIV/AIDS pandemic
has further worsened the state of maternal and neonatal mortality in
Maternal deaths in
Nigeria result from preventable causes including ignorance, myths, cultural
barriers, poor road networks, lack of access to health services and skilled
attendants, mismanagement of pregnancy, illiteracy and poverty.
utilities especially electricity, potable water and transportation system
contribute to the high maternal and neo-natal deaths.
Nigeria’s failure to
address preventable causes of maternal mortality is a tragic symptom of the
social injustices that manifest as discrimination against women and denial
of women’s human rights. Men often make ill-informed reproductive health
decisions on behalf women which usually put the women and children (under 5
years) at the risks of ill-health and death.
Male involvement in
reproductive health issues as well as pregnancy, child nurturing and
domestic affairs is desirable and beneficial to the entire family,
communities and society.
Reduction in maternal
mortality will not only improve the quality of life for individuals and
families but also contribute to economic growth, societal and gender equity
and democratic governance.
Adequate funding of
programmes enabling young people to avoid unwanted pregnancy, unsafe child
birth and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) would produce a significant
benefit to development and slow the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Unless there is
political priority for safe motherhood and child health as indicated in the
Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, it is impossible to achieve the other
The meeting called
on governments at all levels:
maternal and neonatal deaths a national emergency and design an
emergency action plan
to address them.
budgetary allocation to health to at least 15 percent in line with the
Abuja Declaration of 2001 by the African Union.
dedicate budget lines to reproductive health programmes including safe
To ensure that
every part of the country especially rural areas and urban slums is
covered with health facilities with adequate infrastructure and skilled
Remove user fees
for antenatal, delivery and postpartum services in all public health
girl-child education because of its direct relationship with reduction
of maternal mortality.
maternal and neo-natal deaths occur outside the health facilities,
health services should be taken to the people by training and recruiting
community midwives who would undertake home deliveries in addition to
the usual antenatal care and information dissemination.
Invest in data
collection and evidence-based planning, implementation, monitoring,
evaluation and impact assessment.
The meeting called
on the legislature to:
Legislate in favour
of free antenatal care and delivery and family planning services for every
Allocate more money
to health, education and other social services.
oversight function to monitor the strict implementation of the health budget
and the national health sector reforms.
To serve as advocates
for safe motherhood at all levels.
The meeting called
on Civil Society to:
Equip and mobilize
women and men to achieve gender equity and reduce maternal and neonatal
Prioritize the issues
of maternal and neonatal mortality reduction in their programming.
Monitor the health
budget and strict implementation of the health sector reform.|
The meeting called
on Nigerian citizens to:
Vote for only those
who will work for safe motherhood and neonatal health in the 2007 elections
partnerships and networks at community levels to hold elected officials
The meeting also
traditional leaders to be actively involved in addressing the Maternal and
Neo-natal issues in their communities.
Political parties to
make safe motherhood and neonatal health core elements in their manifestoes
and an election campaign issue in 2007 and beyond.
The media to draw
attention to the high rates of maternal and neonatal deaths and give
visibility to politicians that prioritise these issues in the 2007
Otive-Igbuzor Dr. Omokhudu Idogho
CEDPA ActionAid Nigeria
Hajia Fatima Shagari
Dr. Moji Odeku
Ms. Raheemat Momodu Hon.
Dr. Gyang D. Dantong
of Reps Committee on Health
Kpamor Yahaya Taidi and Patrick Otoro
CEDPA Rappouteur team
Ejiro J. Otive-Igbuzor
Centre for Development and Population
Plot 223, Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent
Wuse II, Abuja. Nigeria