Nigeria is the second largest contributor in terms of under-five mortality rates in the world – the same also goes for maternal mortality. About 2,300 children under the age of five die each day and these could have been prevented had they received essential interventions. Although the country failed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals of reducing child mortality rate by a third, some progress has been made.
What Are The Causes Of Child Mortality In Nigeria?
Most of the reasons behind the death of young children in Nigeria are preventable or infectious diseases that are treatable. These include malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea, measles and HIV/AIDS. These diseases account for more than 70% of the one million estimated deaths the country suffers.
The underlying cause of mortality and morbidity in Nigeria is malnutrition. A large number of children under the age of five are malnourished. Malnourishment also accounts for the more than 50% of deaths in children below five years old.
A quarter of the deaths in children below five years of age are newborn babies. Most of the deaths happen within their first week of life and most of the time it has to do with complications during pregnancy as well as delivery. This indicates a connection between the survival of the newborn with the quality of maternal care. The common causes of deaths in newborns are birth asphyxia, severe infection (like tetanus) and premature birth.
The Relationship Between Mother And Child
One hundred and forty five women of childbearing age die every single day in Nigeria. There is a one in thirteen chance of a woman dying from pregnancy and childbirth in the country. A lot of the deaths are preventable but the quality of health care services in the country continue to fail women and children. An estimated less than 20% of health facilities offer obstetric care and deliveries are only attended to by skilled birth attendants 35% of the time.
Mortality Rates And The Lack Of Quality Health Care Services
Although steps have been made to reduce the number of infant mortalities in Nigeria, it is still an ongoing issue. There is a clear connection between the deaths of children – as well as that of their mothers – to the lack of access to or the use of quality delivery services. Women have also cited problems such as the money need for treatment, the distance of the health facility and the need for transport as reasons for their difficulty in accessing healthcare.
The lack of trained health care attended births also factor into the mortality rate. Only six out of ten mothers receive antenatal care from a trained professional, most receive their care from nurses and midwives. Getting good antenatal care can prevent neonatal mortality, particularly for major causes such as tetanus, malaria and maternal anemia.
The poor conditions pregnant women experience in Nigeria has a huge impact on them and their child. It’s clear that women in the country need access to good quality healthcare to ensure not just the survival of their child but also of their own.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.