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Use of family planning key to reducing maternal mortality, says Expert

Family planning has been identified as cost effective strategy that could prevent the death of 358,000 women who die each year across the world from complications of pregnancy and childbirth if effectively used.

A resident doctor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Lagos Island Maternity Hospital, Lagos, Dr. Olufunke Olamigoke, disclosed this during a media roundtable organised recently by the Development Communications (Devcoms) Networks with support from the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI).

In her presentation titled; “Family Planning; Cost Effective Strategy in Tackling Maternal Mortality” Olamigoke quoting the United Nations Economic Commissions for Africa, 2013, said the 10 countries with the highest maternal mortality ratio were in Africa with Nigeria having an alarming rate of 14% of maternal deaths globally.

According to her, if not checked, the lifetime risk of maternal death indicates that 1 in 30 women in Nigeria would have a death related to pregnancy or child bearing going by statistics available.

Giving insight into the benefits of family planning, Olamigoke said:” It reduces exposure to incidence of pregnancy; reduces vulnerability to abortion risk; postponement of pregnancy during prematurity of pelvis development by delaying the first birth as well as reducing the hazard of frailty from high parity pregnancies.”

On the way forward, she called for female education, that is educating the women on the importance of family planning as a tool for safe motherhood . She also recommended targeted and sustained public health awareness campaigns, increased availability of family planning services and increased training for health care providers as other way forward.

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