Kwara Had Second Worst Nigeria Mortality Ratio in 2019 – Agency Boss

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By Wole Adedeji, Ilorin

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Mortality rate in Kwara State   before 20i9 was the second highest and worst in the country, Executive Secretary of the Kwara State Primary Health Care Development Agency (KPHCDA) Dr. Nusirat Elelu has said.

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This sad situation arose because KPHCDA before 2019 had only one nurse to man the agency which was among the strongest reasons behind the poor access to good health services in Kwara State in general and maternal mortality issues in particular.

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Eletu said Kwara had only recently reversed the grim maternal mortality issues of the previous years, and commended the governor, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for his resolve and commitment to improving the quality and access to good healthcare services in the state. 

She said the maternal mortality ratio of the state was 1404.04 in 2019 and 20.7 at the end of 2020.

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The agency boss while shedding light on her position said KPHCDA at a time had just “one nurse to itself as of 2019 and 44 now, after the recent engagement of 43 new nurses which she said was as a result of a firm commitment of the governor.

Her words: “There are different human resource strata in the health system. The information that we had just one nurse for maternal care is correct,” she retorted when asked to clarify claims that the agency had just one nurse in 2019.

“When the Primary Health Care Development Agency was established as an organ of the state, staff were moved as legacy staff from the Ministry of Health in the defunct department of primary health into the agency.

“But only one nurse was approved along with them. For over 10 years, no recruitment had taken place. So, we inherited dozens of staff with only 1 nurse who was the Maternal and Child Health Coordinator.”

Still commending the governor, Elelu said: “When we came in and did our assessment, I made a case to the governor that we had just one nurse in the whole Agency and he approved the recruitment of 50 nurses for the state primary health care agency which was unprecedented.

“So far, 43 of them have assumed duties after their 3 months training at the UITH and General Hospital Ilorin, before we redeployed them to different primary health care centres across the State in areas where they had very serious human resource gap.”

Elelu said the lack of adequate nurses impacted the quality and access to sound healthcare services as well as the poor state of several primary healthcare centres.

She said the new recruitment and general rehabilitation of facilities improved people’s confidence in the quality of care, thereby improving the health indices of the state.

“The maternal mortality ratio is measured by the number of women of childbearing age that died within 42 days of giving birth, divided by the total number of women that gave birth in a year. This is expressed as 100,000. This ratio is according to World Health Organisation (WHO) standard,” she said.

“In 2019, record showed that 314 women died from child bearing-related issues in Kwara State. We had about 22,364 total live births. When you calculate it by using 314 (number of maternal deaths) to divide the figure of 22,364 women (that had safe delivery) over 100,000, it gives the maternal mortality ratio of 1,404.04. It is the fact.

“With this statistics, Kwara was the second worst in Nigeria. The state just recently surged to about 20.7 per 100,000 live birth,” she added.

She also disclosed that the state administration led by governor Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq- led administration had not defaulted in payments since 2019 to date which was “instrumental to the enrollment of tens of thousands of indigents in free healthcare services across 158 accredited primary healthcare facilities in the state.

Elelu said the agency had also started administering booster jab of COVID-19 vaccine in the state, urging members of the public who have taken their first two doses in the last 6 months  to go to the nearest designated vaccination site to get their boost shots.

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