From Paul Osuyi, Asaba

Delta State has recorded a decrease in maternal and perinatal deaths across the state, according to the latest surveillance and response report launched by the state’s ministry of health.

The report indicated a reduction in maternal deaths from 264 per 100,000 live births in 2018 to 184 deaths in 2020.

The statistics further showed a decrease in perinatal mortality from 64 deaths per 1,000 live births reported in 2018 to 28 perinatal deaths per 1,000 live births 2020.

Launching the state’s Maternal and Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response Report (MPDSR) 2019-2020, in Asaba, Commissioner for Health Mordi Ononye reiterated government’s commitment to reducing maternal and perinatal deaths.

He said the state made appreciable progress in efforts to reduce maternal and perinatal mortality with the report, and called on health workers to take deliberate steps to sustain the tempo.

Ononye expressed optimism that zero maternal and perinatal mortality was achievable in the state under the present administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.

He said government has put in place systematic approach towards improving maternal and neonatal health with the establishment of the state’s contributory health insurance commission, which offers free antenatal, delivery, postnatal services to women and under-five infant treatments.

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Ononye explained that the “MPDSR is a critical approach for improving the quality of maternal and neonatal health care and a proven strategy for achieving SDG 3.1 and SDG 3.2.”

Presenting the report before the official launch, co-chairman of the MPDSR committee, Dr. Gaius Iyasere, identified obstetric haemorrhage (bleeding during pregnancy, childbirth or in the postpartum period) as the major cause of maternal death, while birth asphyxia was the major cause of perinatal death in the state.

Iyasere disclosed that a bill on MPDSR was presently before the House of Assembly for passage, adding that efforts were being made to upscale effective blood transfusion services in the state.

Permanent Secretary, Delta State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Jude Winful-Orieke, in a remark, called on women of child-bearing age to adopt good dietary practices in order to combat anaemia.

Orieke also advised intending mothers to register and give birth in medical facilities.

He acknowledged the support of UNICEF, WHO, Rotary International and all health care workers in Delta State who have worked diligently to ensure that women and babies do not die during childbirth.

Experts defined perinatal mortality as the occurrence of death of a foetus at seven months of pregnancy and above or the death of a baby within seven days after birth, while maternal death is the death of pregnant women.