1.9 Million Nigerian, Other African Families Spend 40 Percent Of Non-food Expenses On Maternal Health
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that approximately 1.9 million families in Nigeria and other African countries spend over 40 percent of their non-food household expenses on maternal health services annually. In other words, 1.9 million Nigerian, African Families are spending most of their earnings on maternal health care.
Out of Africa where 1.9 Million Nigerian African families spend so much to procure maternal health care, and across the globe, more than five million families face such a harsh reality, the UN agency said. Nearly two-thirds of these households, or around three million, are in Asia.
Maria’s Is One of the 1.9 Million Nigerian African Families
Maria was in a popular hospital for three weeks after the delivery of her twins. Her husband ran away after he found out she was pregnant with twins. Despite the low cost of the medical bills, Maria could not afford the bills. Since then, doctors have been attending to her needs out of goodwill.
Maria, who had once lost 2 children at childbirth, left her village for Lagos seeking better healthcare for her child. At 32, Maria cannot afford to feed thrice daily, let alone her baby. Paying a medical bill that is considered outrageous is a lot more difficult. Maria is now at the mercy of the hospital, waiting to be sent away when the doctors are tired.
With over 87 million Nigerians living in poverty according to a Brooking Institution projection, Maria is just one of the many pregnant women in this category.
Nigeria accounts for 14% of the world’s maternal mortality deaths. This figure is the highest in West and Central Africa, according to UNICEF. Every day, Nigeria loses about 2,300 children under five years of age and 145 women of childbearing age. This makes the country the second largest contributor to the under-five and maternal mortality rate in the world. With little or no access to health care in rural areas, most women’s deliveries go unassisted.
According to UNICEF’s latest investigation, the costs of maternal healthcare services can discourage pregnant women from seeking medical attention. This will in turn endanger the lives of the mothers and their babies.
The UN agency pointed out that this situation particularly affects poor mothers in developing countries.
UNICEF stated that over 800 women still die every day from pregnancy‑related complications. Also 7,000 babies die in the first month of life. All of this is despite the progress made over the years.