The Sokoto State Government has promised to boost the intake of iron and folic acid supplements by pregnant women to reduce deficiencies of the vitamins in newborns and improve maternal mortality.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Balarabe Kakale, said this at a workshop on Iron Folic Acid (IFA) supplement, organised by Plan International Nigeria and initiated by Micronutrients Initiative on Tuesday in Sokoto.
He noted that iron deficiency could be caused by inadequate iron intake to meet normal requirements or increased requirements due to excessive blood loss and reproduction.
Dr Kakale explained that anaemia was a good predictor of iron deficiency, especially when iron deficiency is the main cause of anaemia.
“Maternal mortality is a serious challenge and another key thing that contributes to maternal mortality is anaemia and malaria. Another contributor to maternal mortality is the eclampsia and pre-eclampsia, all these are due to the lack of Iron Folic Acid intake by the pregnant women”, he said.
On his part, Mr Gabriel Yafeyi, the Programme Manager, Plan International Nigeria, explained that studies had shown that antenatal iron and folic acid, given during pregnancy, reduces rates of low birth weight.
“Also reduced are preterm birth and anaemia, which is associated with increased risk of perinatal and maternal mortality. In respect to this, we have targeted 750,000 pregnant women in both Sokoto and Kebbi states to be well nourished before labour,” he said.
He also said that the NGO had earmarked about $1.4 million Canadian dollars for the execution of the programe.
MARTENAL MORTALITY RATE IN NIGERIA
Worried about the incidences of high maternal mortality rates, Nigeria had in 2012 launched the Saving One Million Lives, a scheme that was to expand access to essential primary health care services for women and children.
The initiative is focused on evidence-based, cost effective interventions that are proven – and address the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. The Initiative comprises of several components, which will contribute to saving one million lives.
- improving Maternal, Newborn and Child Health: through delivering an integrated package of interventions at thousands of primary health care clinics with referral links, including skilled access to a skilled healthcare provider.
- improving routine immunization coverage and eradicating poliomyelitis.
- prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV; through increased access to quality HIV testing and counseling to mothers; treatment of infected mothers; and exploring feasibility of universal access to HIV treatment to all those infected.
- scaling up access to essential medicines
- Malaria control; through an increase utilization of bed nets and effective antimalarial medicines;
- improving child nutrition;
- strengthening logistics and supply chain management and
- promoting innovation and use of technology
However, a new report presented in September 2016 suggested that marternal mortality was increasing.
The report presented by the Chairman of the Association for the Advancement of Family Planning (AAFP), Dr. Ejike Oji, indicated that the nation’s maternal mortality ratio hit 576 deaths out of every 100,000 live births daily.Dr Oji, who stated this ahead of the Fourth Family Planning Conference slated for Abuja, said this makes Nigeria the country with the second highest cases of maternal mortality in the world after India.
Unfortunately, the report also pointed out that this is a reversal of achievements recorded as at December 2013 when the rate was reported to have dropped to 224 deaths per 100,000 live births. Most of the deaths, the latest report said, are associated with poor family planning strategies.