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Updated Apr 24, 2020

Margaret Adenuga, who is sixty-eight years old, gave birth to healthy twins, a boy and a girl, at Lagos University Teaching Hospital on April 14 following a fourth attempt at in-vitro fertilization. Because of her age, a specialist team monitored the pregnancy and delivered the babies via cesarean section.

She and her seventy-seven-year-old husband, Noah Adenuga, are first-time parents.

 

Many of these deaths are from preventable causes

 

Maternal Mortality

It is a story of success in a country that has one of the highest incidences of maternal death in the world. The World Health Organization estimates a Nigerian woman has a 1 in 22 lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy, childbirth, or postpartum, whereas in the most developed countries the lifetime risk is 1 in 4,900. Many of these deaths are from preventable causes.

 

Women wait to be checked at the maternity unit of the Phebe Hospital in Bong Town, central Liberia, on May 27, 2019. The Liberian health system is in crisis, with hospitals running short of drugs due and with financial support nearly halted, putting the population at risk.  Zoom DOSSO / AFP
Women waiting to be seen by a health worker in Nigeria.

 

Free maternal healthcare is available in most public hospitals in Nigeria, but obstacles remain, such as the cost of transport and laboratory tests. Bribery is also a too-frequent occurrence for women seeking access to free basic medical care and drug prescriptions. Some corrupt health providers extort illegal fees from women seeking antenatal care.

Fighting corruption should be a priority for the Nigerian government if it wants to improve maternal care.

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