Delegate Name: Katherine Petersburg
Delegate: Kate Petersburg
Committee: UN Women
Topic: Improving Maternal Health
The maternal mortality rates around the world are unacceptably high. In 2017 about 295,000 women died during and after childbirth. About 94% of those deaths happened in places where they had little to no resources and could have been prevented. Just Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia accounted for about 86% or 254 000 of global maternal deaths in 2017. For adolescent girls, under 15 years old the risk of maternal mortality is highest and complications or mishaps in pregnancy and childbirth are higher among adolescent girls in the age range of 10 to 19. The major complications that account for almost 75% of all maternal deaths in the world are severe bleeding, infections, high blood pressure during pregnancy, complications from delivery, and unsafe abortions. There are means of prevention these causes such as injecting oxytocins immediately after childbirth to reduce the risk of bleeding or to prevent infection you can simply practice good hygiene and watch out for early signs of infection. Women simply are just not informed enough and don’t have the access to the health care they need.
Nigeria has about 58,000 maternal deaths a year, accounting for 19% globally, so if you put that into perspective at least 800 women die for every 100,000 live births. The World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners have helped Nigeria develop and form guidelines to help policies on reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health. In fact, records show that between 2000 and 2015 the maternal mortality rate in Nigeria had gone down from 1,170 deaths to 814 deaths per 100,000 live births, or a 30.4% decrease. The WHO also with the help of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has helped Nigeria with the Quality, Equity, and Dignity (QED) network. One of the main reasons Nigeria has such high maternal mortality rates is based on certain cultural practices. These cultural practices can affect their maternal well being and the well-being of their child. Another issue affecting maternal health is the poor infrastructure, systemic failure, and inability to access health care throughout Nigeria. And the main challenge pregnant and nursing women are facing out of the three is that of poor organizations and the inability to access maternal health services.
There are many ways to address the issue involving women’s maternal health such as simply improving access to health care and improving the qualifications of medical staff. This is important because Nigeria has very low accessibility to health care and many of the nurses in the health facilities are under qualified. There also needs to be awareness of how the facilities can help maternal health and why people really need to utilize them. There are many women in Nigeria who don’t get the help they need because they have been taught that it is better for them to give birth at home. One such example is located in Northern Nigeria. Puddah is very common and it is where women are isolated and encouraged to give birth at home. In many of these cases, they believe that allowing any outsider to help with delivery is disrespectful. Because of this even in places where healthcare is free many women chose to give birth at home. There is a plan put in place to hopefully help with maternal health and Nigeria’s plan for the future is to locate and identify the supply and demand factors that are responsible for the use and the non-use of primary health care for maternal health in certain communities in Edo State, Nigeria. Nigeria then plans to use this information to help figure out ways to improve women’s maternal health. Countries that would work well with Nigeria are Ghana, Benin, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea.