In 2020, Nigeria accounted for over a quarter (28.5%) of global maternal deaths, totalling about 82,000. These avoidable deaths are especially concentrated in hard-to-reach rural communities and peri-urban areas, where access to healthcare is limited.
Niger State, like other northern Nigerian states, grapples with preventable maternal and child deaths. Shockingly, approximately 1 in 95 women still succumb to death during pregnancy or childbirth in the state. The “Why Are Women Dying While Giving Birth in Nigeria” report indicates that an inadequate distribution of healthcare professionals across the state contributes to the high mortality rate. Many healthcare workers opt for the state capital over rural areas.
Two hundred seventy-four of the over 1000 PHCs in Niger state are focal facilities designed to provide 24-hour service, most benefiting from the Basic Health Care Provision Fund BHCPF and NiCare – the Niger State Health Contributory Agency. These improvements, however, are yet to address service delivery disparities. The adoption of revised national guidelines for Maternal and Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response (MPCDSR) across states prompts the need for discussions on how Niger State intends to leverage these guidelines. This effort seeks to enhance accountability for maternal, newborn, and child health, particularly at the community level.
Nigeria Health Watch launched the Community Health Watch project to enhance accountability in primary healthcare delivery. This initiative involves monitoring and documenting healthcare availability in rural and urban areas. Starting as a pilot in Niger state in August 2021, it expanded to Kano state in April 2022. From August 2021 to April 2023, 57 reports were published, mainly from Niger State. The project compiles community-captured content like articles, images, and videos, sharing them through Nigeria Health Watch’s platforms to amplify authentic experiences of accessing healthcare services.
The upcoming 2023 Nigeria Health Watch Primary Health Care Policy Dialogue, themed ‘Strengthening Community Accountability Mechanisms for Quality Primary Healthcare – Spotlight on Niger State,’ is scheduled to take place in Suleja, Niger State. The event will bring together governmental actors from the State Ministry of Health, State Primary Health Care Development Agency (SPHCDA), State Health Insurance Scheme representatives, BHCPF coordinators, healthcare providers, relevant groups, and associations to explore potential remedies, identify prospects for advancement, and formulate actionable policy recommendations.
The policy dialogue is scheduled to take place on Monday, 14 August 2023.
Participants unable to attend the event in person are encouraged to join online by registering here to attend.
About Nigeria Health Watch
Nigeria Health Watch is a not-for-profit health communication and advocacy organisation that seeks to advocate for the health of Nigerians, engage and support the government and other partners in formulating and implementing positive and effective health policies, and hold duty-bearers accountable for delivering affordable and quality healthcare to Nigerians. The unique capacity of Nigeria Health Watch lies in its communications expertise which enables the organisation to provide solutions for evidence-based communications and advocacy in the health sector.
Learn more at www.nigeriahealthwatch.com.
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