Determinants and Differentials of Maternal Reproductive Health Outcomes in Nigeria: A Review of National Demographic Health Survey Data from 1999 to 2013

Philip E. Bassey, Regina I. Ejemot-Nwadiaro, Ekpereonne B. Esu, Antor O. Ndep


Women in Sub-Saharan Africa face significant clinical and socio-demographic challenges that translate to poor health outcomes including high maternal morbidity and mortality. Nigeria being the most populous nation in Africa bears a significant burden of both communicable and non-communicable diseases. This study aimed to determine the trends and differentials in indices fuelling poor health outcomes in Nigeria. The study was a review and trend analysis of maternal reproductive health indicators obtained from the Nigeria National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) data from 1990 to 2013 including secondary data from WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank. The life expectancy at birth was 54.5 years with an estimated infant mortality rate of 75 per 1000 live births, child mortality rate of 88 per 1,000 live births, under-5 mortality rate of 157 per 1,000 live births and a maternal mortality ratio (MMR) of 545 per 100,000 live births. Contraceptive prevalence was 22% among women in the wealthiest quintile and 3% among those in the poorest quintile.  Only 3% of women with no education used modern contraception as compared to 24% of women with tertiary education. Most of the maternal deaths were due to preventable causes which were largely related to poverty, inimical socio-cultural beliefs and practices as well as clinical factors like haemorrage, hypertension, and indirect causes like inadequate human resource for health, user charges, cultural pregnancy/childbirth beliefs and myths. A community-based participatory research using both qualitative and quantitative methods may shed more light on the non-clinical factors fueling high MMR in Nigeria.

Keywords: Maternal and Child Health, maternal mortality, contraception

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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