The Nigerian Story
Almost 50% of Nigeria population is under the age of 14 meaning that a significant part of the nation’s population is at risk. If the child mortality rate is not greatly reduced then the nation faces a future dilemma of insufficient human capital to meet the demands of an ever growing society.
UNICEF reports that Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-five year olds and 145 women of child bearing age every single day, making the country the second largest contributor to under-five and maternal mortality rate in the world.
- The United Nations Children’s Fund lists Nigeria among the top countries contributing to number of children (250 million) under age five who are at risk of not reaching their potential in life
- As at 2015, the under 5 mortality ratio in Nigeria was 108 per 1000 live births meaning that about 1 in 10 Nigerian children never reach the age of 5
- Nigeria has the third highest infant mortality rate in the world according to WHO statistical data
- Though under 5 child mortality in Nigeria witnessed a decline, Nigeria was not among the countries that met the MDG Goal to cut their under-five mortality ratio by two-thirds
- In 2010, neonatal causes accounted for 30% of under five deaths in Nigeria, currently they account for almost 50%
- In a December 14th 2017 interview on The Guardian, by Chukwuma Muanya and Adaku Onyenucheya, Professor Isaac Adewole said the country has made significant progress in reducing the rate of newborn deaths from 201/1000 live births to 128/1000 live births in 2013.
Data from a Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS5) carried out from September 2016 to January 2017 in Nigeria states that:
- In 2016, deaths among children under age five dropped to 120 per 1000 live births from 158 per 1000 live births in 2011
- Though this shows some improvement, the new SDG target in child mortality is to reduce under five mortality to as low as 25 per 1000 live births
- Malnutrition among children under age five has worsened nationwide
Malnutrition is an underlying contributing factor to child mortality as it makes children more vulnerable to severe diseases
Maternal death is defined by the World Health Organization as “the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy.
Maternal health is closely linked to neonatal health thus the health interventions needed to address the major causes of neonatal deaths are closely linked to those that are necessary to protect maternal health.
Access to good quality care and life-saving interventions is necessary for both mother and child survival.
Neonatal Mortality is the death of a baby within the first 28 days of life. World Health Organization (WHO) states that a child faces its highest risk of dying while in its neonatal stage. A new report done by United Nations Children’s Fund shows that nearly 10% of newborn deaths in the world last year occurred in Nigeria.
There are three essential functions key to the survival of newborns namely:
- Respiration – the availability of respiratory support such as resuscitation masks, ventilators etc
- Feeding – Exclusive breastfeeding remains the healthiest food choice for newborns. It is said to contain all nutrients and antibodies needed to fight off bacteria and ensure healthy growth
- Thermal Support – expressed through a method known as ‘Kangaroo Mother Care’. This method is practiced on babies, usually on a preterm infant.