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WHO seeks better investment in maternal, new-born health

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WORLD Health Organisation (WHO) Representative to Nigeria, Dr. Walter Mulombo, says the agency is advocating for more investment is needed for maternal and new-born health, noting that it will help save the lives of women and children.

   Dr. Mulombo, disclosed this in his message for the 2021 World Patient Safety Day, stressing that it is now important to engage patients as partners in the provision of quality healthcare.

  The theme for the 2021 World Patient Safety Day is ‘safe maternal and newborn care’ while the campaign is ‘act now for safe and respectful childbirth’.

  Mulombo said, “By engaging patients as partners in the provision of quality care, health systems will make tangible progress towards Universal Health Coverage; the voice of patients and their feedbacks must matter in healthcare provision.

  “There is a need for more investment to ensure we not only save lives of women and children but also to improve their experience of healthcare.

  “This will birth trust in the system and could, in turn, improve the health-seeking behaviour of the populace.

  “So, this World Patient Safety Day, I encourage all stakeholders – governments, civil society, the private sector, health workers, and communities – to speak up for patient safety and to act now for safe and respectful childbirth.”

  Decrying the high rate of maternal and infant deaths in the country, the WHO Representative said Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey 2018 shows that Nigeria has 512/100,000 live births and newborn mortality at 39 per 1000 live births.

  A similar picture, he noted, is seen in the African Region as Africa accounts for nearly seven out of 10 maternal deaths and one out of three newborn deaths globally.

  He identified postpartum haemorrhage, hypertensive diseases, and sepsis as the major causes of death among pregnant women and mothers.

  He said the top causes of death among newborns include premature birth, babies not getting enough oxygen during birth, and infections.

  “I echo the thoughts of the Regional Director, WHO AFRO Dr. Moeti Matshidiso that ‘many of these deaths could be prevented by making sure patients feel safe, respected and that their needs are heard and acted on, and by equipping the health workers with the knowledge, skills and tools to take life-saving action’.

  “We need to do everything to stop the preventable deaths by ensuring our health facilities provide high quality, safe and effective healthcare.”

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