A Professor of Anaesthetics at the University of Ilorin, Benjamin Olusanmi Bolaji, has lamented the spate of medical professionals leaving the shores of Nigeria to other countries.
He also decried the lack of equipment and facilities in public health institutions in the country.
Speaking on the way forward to address the rise in maternal mortality, Professor Benjamin, said a multidisciplinary approach of medical practitioners was required to tackle the rising spate of the menace in the country.
Bolaji, who attributed the ugly trend to haemorrhage during childbirth, called for partnership with international organizations for provision of resources needed to practically launch the crusade against the menace.
He said this on the sidelines of the Ninth Scientific Conference of the Society of Obstetric Anaesthetists of Nigeria (SOAN) in association with Nigeria Society of Anaesthetists (NSA), which began in Ilorin, Kwara state capital on Thursday.
Professor Bolaji, who is also a Consultant with the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, noted that with many specialists in the medical profession leaving the shores of the country in droves, more professionals in the health sector would need to be recruited to help in the efforts at reducing maternal mortality.
“The leading cause of maternal mortality, specifically, is haemorrhage; pregnant women bleeding during delivery.
” One other cause is infection. If we are going to tackle the issue of maternal mortality, we need a multidisciplinary approach; the nurses, obstetricians, aestheticians and medical laboratory scientists will be involved.
“We need to collaborate and when we are collaborating, we even need international partners because of the resources they can give us.
“We also need to involve the community and promoters that can give us access to the communities. Of course, education and advocacy is important.
“There should be free access to specialist based services. Those are the areas we need to look into if we are going to reduce maternal mortality in Nigeria.
“We saw in the presentation, maternal mortality is unevenly distributed in the country. It is highest when you move up to the North, especially North West. In the South East and South West, it is low”, the Professor of Anaesthetics said.
The Permanent Secretary, state Ministry of Health, Dr Abubakar Ayinla, who represented the wife of the state Governor, Mrs Olufolake AbdulRazaq, at the event, said the conference was timely, because it was in tandem with the vision of the present administration in the health sector.
She explained that the state government had made resources available for safe motherhood with the resuscitation of primary health care centres across the state.
The Chairman, Local Organizing Committee of the conference, Dr Majeed Babajide Adegboye, said maternal mortality and morbidity were prevalent within the circle of women of productive age and had contributed to poor health indices in a country like Nigeria.
He said anaesthetists have crucial roles to play in reducing maternal morbidity and mortality, especially during childbirth.
Adegboye said, “As we are aware, maternal morbidity and mortality are common among women of productive age in our environment. They both contribute significantly to poor health indices in developing countries.