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  • Prof Rotimi Jaiyesimi


Is the death of mothers in the West and in Low and Medium Income Countries a gender bias issue?

Maternal mortality in Low and Medium Income Countries (LMIC) are unacceptably high. Over 300,000 women die in the world annually due to complications of pregnancy. Nigeria has one of the worst indices of mothers dying, with 58,000 women dying every year.

The loss of lives is due to poor services, poor funding, misappropriation of allocated funds, the numbness to this tragic events and the lack of the political will to address the issue. Would things have been different if it were men giving births and dying?

What is now baffling is the increasing rate of mothers dying in pregnancy in the United States of America. More than 700 women die giving birth each year, and that half of the deaths could be prevented by following basic safety practices - Source: USA Today).

The causes of death in the USA are no different from those in LIMC - High blood pressure and Bleeding. Patients with dangerously high blood pressure are not treated properly and excessive internal bleeding went undetected—with deadly results in America. Add to this list will be infection.

Why is the world standing by while our mothers die needlessly? The death of women from pregnancy should not and must not be happening anywhere in the world. There are efforts by governments, UN Agencies and philanthropists to address this problem but the tragic figures indicate more needs to be done urgently.

Women should not be dying from preventable causes. Would the urgency be different if it were men dying in large numbers from preventable causes. The world has seen the urgent actions to tackle issues that know no boundaries - the Zika and Ebola viruses are examples.

I raise the gender issue, because most policy makers in the world are men and struggle to come to terms that women are left to die.

My mantra is 'Each Nigerian Life is Priceless'. This applies to humanity. Let us stand up and address this issue of high maternal mortality.

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