The Nigerian Medical Association has expressed concern over the deplorable state of health care services in the country.
The organisation said that despite their importance in the country, 40 per cent of medical doctors in Nigeria were still jobless.
It, therefore, called on the Federal Government to employ capable medical personnel to reduce mortality rate.
The President of the NMA, Dr Francis Faduyile, represented by the Chairman of the NMA in the Federal Capital Territory, Dr Ekpe Phillips, expressed the views in an interview with journalists during a roundtable discussion on ‘Accountability for maternal health in Nigeria’, which ended in Abuja on Friday.
The event was jointly organised by the Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre with the National Human Rights Commission and funded by the Centre for Reproductive Health in New York.
Akiyode-Afolabi said Nigeria’s maternal mortality rate was second to India and one of the worse indicators in the world.
According to her, the reduction at 547 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in Nigeria still remains unacceptably high.
She said, “We believe motherhood should be positive and fulfilling experience. Hence, it should not be associated with ill-health and even deaths that are especially easily preventable. Indeed, the death of women during pregnancy or delivery has been described as a major public health problem.
“Hence, through this project, the WARDC intends to promote the discourse that maternal health issue of women human rights are respected, promoted and protected. It is our belief that preventable and needless deaths of women at childbirth constitute a violation of fundamental rights, including right to life and right to family life.”
Ekpe, a gynaecologist and Medical Director, Nyanyan General Hospital, said it would take up to two years for many trained doctors who had completed their National Youth Service Corps programme to get jobs.
He said, “To reduce mortality rate, we must employ capable hands with pre-requisite qualifications to work in the primary health care centres. It is not about building health care centres and putting people who don’t have what it takes to take care of the patients.”