Maternal health: WAHO sets to curb perinatal deaths

• Hosts West Africa policy makers, stakeholders


By Agatha Chitumu

Daily Courier – Against the backdrop of annual 9.4 million perinatal deaths worldwide with 98 percent occurrence in Africa, the West African Health Organization (WAHO) has moved against the scourge.

At present, the West African sub-region has the highest death rate in the world.

According to ECOWAS 2009 – 2013 report, in the year 2000, there were 510,000 maternal deaths globally with 238,000, or 42% from Africa alone.

Consequently, apart from rolling out strategic policy to curb the ugly trend, WAHO, as part of it’s support has equally hosted policy makers and stakeholders from across the ECOWAS region at a 3-day dissemination workshop held  in Abuja Nigeria, with the aim of proffering lasting solutions.

With the theme: “Moving Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Evidence into Policy in West Africa (MEP)”, the project aims to among other things help improve the health of mothers and children in West Africa via research and policy.

The MEP project which is part of the Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa (IMCHA),  is an initative of the Department of Global Affairs, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

The West African Health Organization (WAHO) in its publication christened “strategy for the accelerated reduction of maternal and under-five mortality” had before now cited inefficient and ineffective dissemination as part of the challenges decision makers face in overcoming the challenges.

At the meeting, the MEP project initiators have therefore adopted the use of evidence in Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (MNCH) decision-making as effective path capable of reducing high maternal, and child mortality rates in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali. Nigeria, Senegal and other West African countries.

Among other functions, the 2-level approach initiatives adopted by stakeholders is tailored to among other things enhance knowledge transfer, use of evidence in policy making in the region and to provide evidence to regional and national decison-makers.