The immediate past chairman of Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Oyo State chapter, Dr. Muideen Babatunde Olatunji has decried paltry budgetary allocations for health over the years by the federal, states and local governments.
As Development Communications (DevComms) Network Program and Communications Officer, Mrs Fausiat Balogun declared that Nigeria’s huge population, fueled by high birth rate without good family planning can be a huge burden with resultant poor health indices.
According to her, such as high maternal and infant deaths, which Nigeria’s maternal and child deaths is one of the highest in the world.
According to Olatunji, allocating low budget to critical area like heath, which has been a part of militating factor against development was responsible for most deaths Nigeria is recording on daily basis among women and children.
He maintained that Nigeria will be harvesting calamities if government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari and state governors refuse to invest in the heath sector.
Olatunji who is the Medical Health Officer, Akinyele Local Government Area made the disclosure while delivering a paper titled, “Family planning: Cost effective in tackling maternal health” at a one-day media roundtable for family planning organized by Development Communication (DevComs) Network at the weekend in Ibadan.
The Ex-Oyo NMA chairman pointed out that if governments at all levels and other private individuals refuse to invest appropriately in heath sector, Nigeria will continue to have health related challenges.
He expressed with dismay that Nigeria presently still records about 800 deaths out of 100,000 live births among pregnant women, a condition he said required urgent attention to tackled.
He said that, the only solution to the problem is for the government and other stakeholders to invest heavily in the heath sector.
Olatunji maintained that while one woman out of about 4,000 dies as a result of pregnancy related complications in developed countries, lamented that about 16 out of 4,000 women dies as a result of pregnancy related complications in developing counties like Nigeria.
Stressing that less than one percent of maternal and child deaths occur in developed countries as against developing counties like Nigeria where many women and children die as a result of lack of adequate heath care.
He said that most of the deaths among pregnant women and children are avoidable if the government and other stakeholders contribute their quota by investing heavily in heath and other critical areas such as education and infrastructural development.
According to him, “So, if we refuse to invest in health sector in Nigeria, we will be harvesting calamities. How can you use a tricycle to go to hinterland to transport pregnant women, it will summersault. So everybody have a role to play and have to put more efforts.
“There suppose to be at least a functional heath centre in each of the administrative wards across the country. There will be facilities and it must be functional. It must have the desired personnel. The question is that, do we have such, all of us know that is no.
“So above all, women have been found of having inadequate heath care in this part of the world. In advance countries, it is 1 out of 4,000 women while in developing countries, it is 1 out of 16 women that dies. Less than one percent of these deaths occurred in developed countries, they could be avoided if resources and service are available.
“A woman must be very healthy before she is pregnant. Because, pregnancy is not an easy task. That is why women are stronger than men. No woman should deliver at home due to the dangers inherent in child birth.
“Risk of maternal deaths is affected by many factors like frequently and spacing of births, nutrition level, structure and maternal age, this is why family planning comes to play. We don’t encourage too frequently of pregnancy. So, let her eat and refresh for at least 2 years. Extreme of age is another”.
Speaking earlier, the DevComs Program and Communications officer, Mrs. Fausiat Balogun acknowledged that DevComs is a media development, capacity building organization coordinated by experienced development journalists.
She added that the aim of the meeting was to “create a platform for the discussion of key issues in Maternal and Child Health focusing on Family Planning”.
According to her, “Nigeria’s huge population, fueled by high birth rate without good family planning, can be a huge burden with resultant poor health indices such as high maternal and infant deaths. Nigeria’s maternal and child deaths is one of the highest in the world.
“In recognition of the critical role the media plays in agenda setting on matters of national interest. This meeting is to create a platform for the discussion of key issues in Maternal and Child Health focusing on Family Planning.