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Renowned Professor Offers Transformative Solutions to Combat Maternal Mortality

By DAYO ADESULU

Renowned Obstetrics and Gynaecology professor, John Sotunsa, has highlighted the importance of an indigenous approach, specifically the Abiye Initiative driven by the Ondo State government, in tackling Nigeria’s high maternal mortality rates.

During the 49th inaugural lecture at Babcock University, Professor Sotunsa emphasized that the Abiye program effectively addresses the delays that contribute to maternal mortality, while also fostering collaboration between Primary and Tertiary Health Care Centers through the recruitment and training of health rangers.

As a result, the implementation of the Abiye Project has led to a significant decrease in maternal mortality rates, with the figure dropping to 100 per 100,000 live births in the first year, compared to the national MMR of 545 per 100,000 live births.

In his lecture, Professor Sotunsa argued that it is crucial to eliminate all causes of maternal death in order to change the negative narrative surrounding this issue. He called upon both the government and private organizations to prioritize the reduction of delays associated with high maternal mortality rates.

Statistics indicate that delays in seeking help for pregnancy and childbirth, reaching appropriate facilities, and receiving necessary care and referrals are among the major risk factors contributing to Nigeria’s high maternal mortality rates.

Professor Sotunsa believes that enhancing the accessibility, availability, affordability, and quality of primary healthcare centers across the country will significantly improve maternal health indicators.

To combat maternal mortality, Professor Sotunsa recommended the implementation of social networks, support systems, and a social insurance scheme. Additionally, he highlighted the importance of mentorship, effective communication, and proper documentation. Adequate social support not only enhances the overall pregnancy experience but also reduces the risk of premature deaths by 26%, as well as the occurrence of depression, anxiety, stroke, heart disease, and dementia.

In conclusion, Professor Sotunsa emphasized the need to utilize internal resources and seize opportunities to save the lives of women in Nigeria. By being available, consistent, ingenious, committed, and willing to make sacrifices, the majority of maternal deaths can be prevented.

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