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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Deaths from pregnancy complications rise in Niger

Inadequate funding for maternal and reproductive health will lead to increased complications and death among women in the state

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Justina Asishana
Justina Asishana
Justina Asishana is a Nigerian from Edo state. She is a data and investigative journalist who also fact-checks. She covers health, agriculture, education and governance

NIGERIA. Minna, Niger State. Deaths from pregnancy and childbirth complications to rise due to the inadequate funding of Maternal and Reproductive Health Services amidst Covid-19 response, a group on reproductive health has declared.

The Technical Working Group on Child Spacing and the Adolescent Youth Reproductive Health in Niger state expressed this concern during its meeting in Minna. 

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The meeting, which was coordinated by the Centre for Communication and Reproductive Health (CCRHS), stated that inadequate funding for maternal and reproductive health will lead to increased complications and death among women in the state.

Poor funding of reproductive health services. In a statement issued by the group and signed by the Project Director of the Centre for Communication and Reproductive Health, Dr Aliyu Yabagi Shehu, the Niger State Child Spacing Advocacy Working Group stressed the need for improved access to health facilities for effective reproductive health services at all times to protect the health and safety of women of reproductive age and girls in the state.   

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‘’We call for the urgent release of Family Planning Funds to effectively provide adequate lifesaving reproductive healthcare and women’s protection services until the end of 2020. Moreover, additional funds are needed for the COVID-19 response to protect health workers and women accessing reproductive health services in the State and conflict-affected LGAs of the state. If lifesaving reproductive health services are not provided, this will have catastrophic consequences for women of reproductive age in Niger state,” the statement said.

 Government has not met with its pledge to release family planning budget. Shehu noted that although Niger state has agreed to improve the financing of its family planning program at all levels, budgetary allocation of family planning in the 2020 budget has fallen drastically.

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“In 2017, the Niger State government made a commitment to increase Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CRP) from 6.6 per cent to 25 per cent by 2020 with a state vision for family planning expressed in the State costed Implementation Plan (CIP). The projects of the CIP, if implemented is expected to avert 250,000 unintended pregnancies, 90,000 abortions, and 2500 maternal deaths within 2018 to 2020, this will create a demographic dividend that boosts economic growth and breakout from the cycle of poverty. How attainable is this commitment when budgetary allocations are not released on time and in full?  From 2015 to 2020, over N250 million have been allocated in the state budget to family planning with only N15.5 million released.”

The group then called on the government to show more commitment toward tackling the rising population growth and curbing the dangers of obstetric complications of women. 

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