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Story Publication logo July 28, 2013

Northern Nigeria, Falling Short on Maternal Health

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Soft power, according to Joseph Nye, a former Harvard professor who invented the phrase over 20...

The fundamental issue with antenatal care in Nigeria is two-pronged: the lack or inadequacy of antenatal facilities and the non-utilization of available ante-natal services usually due to cultural and religious beliefs.

Millions of pregnant women in the country trek for miles to get to a health facility. Some endure labor for days which leads to birth complications like Vesico Vagina Fistula (VVF).

The statistics are sobering: The national ratio that 630 Nigerian women out of every 100,000 die while giving birth. Excessive bleeding is blamed for a quarter of this.

Meanwhile, HIV screening, along with five other blood tests, is offered to all pregnant women as a routine part of their ante-natal care. But because utilization of antenatal care is particularly low, among other factors, the transmission of HIV from mother to child continues at an alarming rate; accounting for more cases of new infections of the virus in infants.

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