INFANT AND MATERNAL MORTALITY RATE: High infant and maternal mortality death is a tragedy, many children are rendered motherless, such children are deprived of maternal care which goes a long way to affect adversely both their physiological and psychological development. Equally, many mothers are rendered childless. The majority of these pitiable situations are due to infant and maternal mortality.
Procter (1996) defined infant and maternal mortality as the death of a child or mothers caused by diseases and other conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth. Therefore, infant and maternal mortality is the death of mother or child caused by diseases and other condition related to pregnancy, labour and childbirth. you may like this
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The international federation of gynecologist and obstetricians (1979) defined infant and maternal mortality as one occurring during pregnancy or labour as a consequence of pregnancy within forty two (42) days after delivery or abortion. The World Health Organization (WHO, 1998) estimated that 585,000 women die every year from pregnancy related causes, a rate of 430 deaths per 100,000 life birth.
This maternal death due to associated causes and maternal condition (pregnancy) is regarded as secondary causes of death. For example, it is well know that cardiac diseases may be aggravated by pregnancy and a pregnant patient who has cardiac disease and dies, will be grouped them under associated causes (Brown and beneath, 1999). And maternal mortality rate is the number of infant or maternal deaths due to pregnancy and child bearing one thousand (1000) registered live and still births.
Nigeria has one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world and this necessitated the greater attention given to Maternal and Child Health (MCH) services in the country’s Bamako Initiative (BI) programme inother to reduce the rate of infant and maternal mortality.
Infant and maternal mortality and its Study
MCH consumers, who are often poor, are also at extraordinary risk of receiving poor or no health care. Nigeria’s infant mortality rate is about 96 per thousand live births in rural area against 75 per a thousand live births in urban area (East African Medical Journal, 2004).
Infant mortality (death of children under one year) and under-five mortality are 100 and 210 per 1000 live birth respectively and these deaths are from preventable causes such as malaria (24%) pneumonia (20%), diarrhea (16%), measles (6%) and HIV/AIDS account for more than 71% of the estimated one million under 5 death in Nigeria in 2004 (FMOTT, 2007).
Some of the contributory factors to infant mortality in Nigeria include malnutrition, poor environmental hygiene, low access and utilization of quality health care services by women and children other include but not limited to low female literacy level, poor family health care practices, lack of access so safe water.
Tindall (1997) defined maternal mortality as death due to pregnancy or childbearing, the commonest causes of which are hypertensive and hemorrhagic disorders. Infant and maternal mortality is an important indicator of the standard of health care of different communities (Brown & Benneth 1999).
Although pregnancy is a physiological phenomenon, pregnant women commonly experience physiological and psychological changes. Pregnancy may be accompanied by complication that could be of fatal consequences, pregnant women are thus prone to risk, it follows therefore, that the care of a pregnant women deserves the highest priority in every community especially Abakaliki metropolis where the present sturdy is to be conducted.
Infant and maternal mortality has implication not only to the family and community but also to the nation at large. With high accidence of infant and maternal mortality, a nation is regarded as a developing country. A study carried by Waboso (1993) shows that every year hundreds and thousands of Nigerians children and women die from complication of pregnancy, childbearing and puerperium be it directly or indirectly.
It is obvious that some women are more liable to maternal mortality than others in Nigeria. The women who are rural dwellers are less privileged and thus are more liable to maternal mortality.
There liability could be as the result of the following; medical factors; some of the direct medical causes of maternal mortality include, hemorrhage or bleeding, infection, unsafe abortion, hypertensive disorders and obstructed labour, social-cultural factors that relate to low status of women (gender disparity in education, access to productive resources etc) poverty harmful traditional practices and other factors that act as barriers to utilization of available health service have influenced the maternal mortality rate.
Health service causes lack of access to essential obstetric care, lack of access to family planning counseling and service, lack of drugs, equipment, essential materials, instruments, consumable etc in hospital.
Neonatal death (death of infant within the first 28 days of life) in Nigeria is 48 per 1000 live births (NDHS, 2003) and almost half of infant death per annum results from poor maternal health and poor care at time of delivery. The major causes of these deaths are asphyxia, preterm, sepsis, neonatal tetanus, congenital conditions, diarrhea and others.
Nigeria is also working towards the improvement of maternal and child health through the primary health care component of maternal and child health in other to reduce infant and maternal mortality. The objective of these maternal and child health services are to ensure that as far as possible women remain healthy throughout pregnancy, that they have healthy babies and recover fully from the effects of pregnancy, the objectives also include detecting mothers at risk and giving prompt treatment to them during complicated pregnancy, labour and puorpenum (Gilles & Lucas, 2004).
This research study focuses on factors responsible for high infant and maternal mortality rate in Abakaliki urban. The cause of infant and maternal mortality is an outcome of nexus of interaction of a variety of factor namely the distant factors (socio-economic, cultural) which act through the proximate or intermediate factor (health and reproductive behavior, access to health services) and in turn influences outcome (pregnancy complication, mortality) Campbell and Graham (1990).
The socio-economic and cultural factors for example the issue of women right especially the reproductive and sexual rights, female education, employment and empowerment, gender inequality, both the distant and the proximate factors operate together to impact mortality rather than a unidirectional causality. These factors were included in the present study in order to give direction for the study.
Abakaliki metropolis is an urban community in Abakaliki local government area of Ebonyi State. The people living in the community are mainly migrants from far and near communities, some are traders and most, people living in the metropolis are civil servants, majority of the inhabitants are educated, their level of education would provide basis for difference imperceptions regarding infant and maternal morality.
Infant and maternal mortality is a major health problem all over the world. According to World Health Organization (WHO), more than one woman, die every minute from pregnancy and child birth, about 585,000 die every year. Abakaliki metropolis is not an exception and the rate of children and women that die of pregnancy and child birth in the area is not known, that necessitated this study.