The immediate-past Country Director of IPAS Nigeria, Dr. Ejike Orji, said on Sunday that the country’s maternal mortality rate has reduced by 50 per cent in the last five years.
Orji told the News Agency of Nigeria in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State that though the country’s maternal mortality rate was still high, it was however clear it was gradually going down.
He said: “I was part of the conceptualisation of the Medical Service Scheme, which has played a major role in reducing maternal mortality.
“I am sure that if we are able to reach every hospital or every rural area in Nigeria, we will be able to attain the target of the Millenium Development Goals.”
The former country director said, however, that infant mortality rate in the country was higher than the maternal mortality rate.
Orji said if children immunisation was rightly done in all parts of the country, Nigeria would attain the goal of reducing infant mortality in 2015.
He added: “The major causes of infant mortality are diseases like polio, diphtheria, tetanus and others.
“In some parts of the country, poor personal hygiene and sanitation also endanger children’s lives.
“The emergency responses to children diseases are not as it should be because of their feeble nature.”
Orji, who listed malaria as another infant killer, said proper prevention measures should be taken through the use of insecticides and mosquito nets as approved by the Roll Back Malaria Initiative.
He advised parents to get their children immunised when due and also improve on their medical care efforts.
Orji further said a major hindrance to infant healthcare was the fact that some parents were too poor to cater for the high number of children they had.
He added: “Therefore, until couples reduce the number of children they have in their families, the problem will still persist.
“A family earning less than $2 a day with seven children has a problem of malnourishment of children, thereby increasing the risk of infection arising from low immunity.”