How Nigeria can ensure healthy mothers, babies —Don

nigeriamotherA Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Abiola Okunlola has said that Nigeria may be able to reduce women dying from pregnancy related complications by 71 per cent and newborn death by 53 per cent if it meets its needs for family planning and maternal new born health services simultaneously.

Professor Okunlola made the declaration in his lecture entitled Reducing Maternal Mortality: Family planning as a Veritable Tool” at the 2017 press week and award ceremony of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalist, Oyo State Council.

The medical expert said ensuring this will also reduce unintended pregnancies by more than two thirds and unsafe abortion by 73 per cent.

Professor Okunlola stated that Nigeria still has one of the highest cases of maternal mortality rates globally and put the risk of a Nigerian woman dying from childbirth at one in 18 compared with one in 61 for all other developed countries.

He stated that many pregnant women in Nigeria still die due to bleeding, infections, eclampsia, obstructed labour and abortion just as many also develop disabilities like Vesico Vaginal Fistula.

The expert noting that many causes of these deaths and disabilities are preventable, however said that the role of family planning in ensuring safe mothers and babies cannot be overemphasised given that pregnancy ought to be by choice rather than by chance.

According to him, “the role of family planning can never be overemphasised given that it helps avoid unsafe abortions, limits the risk of pregnancy and childbirth; reduces the number of births and encourages adoption of safer sexual behaviour.

“In fact, a large multicentre studies involving thousands of women by John Hopkins, including some in Ibadan, conclusively showed that families that use contraceptives are healthier and wealthier than those who do not. So it is a win-win situation.”

The expert said people need not worry over side effects of contraceptives, adding that the side effects of most contraceptives were almost negligible.

In addition, he said contraception does not promote promiscuity, stressing that a girl that is morally right, will not because of contraception become promiscuous.

According to him, “this blame should not be put on contraception. We should not continue to watch our women die. Family planning is free. Every woman of childbearing age group should take advantage of contraceptives. Let them survive and be healthier and wealthier.”

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