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School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa


Maternal mortality remains a challenge in developing countries which bear 99% of global maternal deaths (WHO, 2014). Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Ethiopia carry more than 50% of the global burden of maternal mortality. According to the UNDP Human Development Report (2014), Nigeria’s maternal mortality ratio of 630 per 100,000 live births ranks among the highest in Africa. Two countries accounted for one third of all global maternal deaths: India at 17% (50 000) and Nigeria at 14% (40 000) (WHO, 2014).. Archibong and Aghan (2010) found that hospital based maternal mortality ratio in Cross River state was 1,513.4per 100,000 live births [1]. Also a glaring disparity exists between MMR in rural and urban areas. These poor health indices portray a challenge to Nigeria’s efforts to achieve the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDG), a cause for concern, considering that the terminal MDG year is 2015.Skilled care before, during and after childbirth has been advocated as a panacea to save the lives of women and newborn babies [2]. Studies have shown that health care providers often lack the knowledge and skills necessary for them to practice safe motherhood, including ability to recognize high risk pregnancies and danger signs during labour and childbirth, and to make appropriate and timely referral [3,4]. Simple cost-effective measures in reducing maternal and child mortality include, evidencebased continuing education programs for health care providers already in the system such as safe motherhood programs and child survival strategies amongst others. However, these interventions are often instituted mostly in Nigeria urban centres with negligible participation by health care providers in the rural areas whom may need these kinds of training the most.

Our project addressed this challenge through the delivery of a modified WHO [5,6] Safe motherhood training to a group of health workers from rural areas of one of Nigerian South Eastern state (i.e. Cross River State). The main aim of project was to build the capacity of frontline community health care workers like nurses, midwives and community health extension workers for the delivery of effective evidence-based maternal and newborn health care in rural areas. Specific objectives included, increasing health care providers’ knowledge, and safe and competent maternal of safe and competent maternal, newborn and child health care. This was accomplished in a two-day-workshop facilitated by MNCH specialists; nurses, midwives, and physicians. Our project team was also represented these disciplines. Pre and post-test were used to evaluate the impact of our interventions on these healthcare providers’ knowledge.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.


Journal of Pregnancy and Child Health

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