Maternal Health in Nigeria – Biosocial Theory, History & Implications of COVID-19

By Dr. Adaeze Oreh

Dr Adaeze Oreh is a Consultant Family Physician, Country Director of Planning, Research and Statistics for Nigeria’s National Blood Service Commission (NBSC) and Senior Health Policy Advisor with Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health. She has over 18 years of private and public healthcare experience and sits on the Governing Council of Pamo University of Medical Sciences – Nigeria’s first private university of Medical Sciences. She is a Fellow of the West African College of Physicians, the Aspen Institute, Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Royal Society of Public Health and is a Member of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Global Strategy Advisory Group and the International Society for Blood Transfusion COVID-19 Working Party.

According to the World Health Organization, nearly 830 women die from preventable causes daily. About 99% of these deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries, and more than half of those occur in sub-Saharan Africa alone. The target of the Sustainable Development Goals is to improve maternal and reproductive health outcomes and reduce global maternal mortality rates to fewer than seventy deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030.

Every woman has the right to live and thrive. To accept the tragedy that one woman in the world dies every two minutes from pregnancy or childbirth due to preventable causes is to deny their basic right to life. This article, based on the Nigerian context, identifies biosocial theories, historical antecedents, metrics relevant to maternal health, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, describing the potential of policy for rights-based inter-ventions that address (1) inequity in access to safe basic and emergency obstetric care; (2) disenfranchisement and disempowerment of women; and (3) women’s rights and respectful maternal care in health care settings.

The research paper was originally posted on Research Gate on August 23, 2022.