News & Current Affairs

Anambra To Open Blood Banks To Mitigate Maternal Fatalities

By Azeezat Okunlola | Sep 21, 2022

Anambra state has declared its intention to build fully operational blood banks in three of its senatorial districts in order to lower the number of maternal and perinatal deaths in the state.  

This was discussed on Tuesday in Awka at a meeting to address the issue of maternal and perinatal child mortality, where Commissioner for Health Afam Obidike made the remarks.

When asked about the leading causes of maternal death in the state, Mr Obidike noted that postpartum haemorrhage, or excessive bleeding after childbirth, was one of the primary causes. 

This gives a nod to the findings of a study carried out at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Southeast Nigeria, which stated the major direct causes of maternal mortality as pre-eclampsia/eclampsia (27%), haemorrhage (22%), and sepsis (12%), and the indirect causes as anaemia, anaesthesia, and HIV encephalopathy. 

According to Mr Obidike, if the state wanted to cut down on maternal fatalities caused by haemorrhages, it would have to set up blood bank services.

The commissioner expressed his regret that women were dying, especially in rural regions, from complications that could have been avoided. Timely and efficient administration of maternal care, he argues, can save many of these fatalities.

“This is why Governor Charles Soludo’s-led administration has adopted a holistic approach to ending maternal mortality in the state. So, part of the ways to reduce this is to procure anti-shock garments, establish blood bank services across the three senatorial districts, procure mama kits and delivery of free antenatal care services at hospitals," Mr Obidike said. 

The commission reported that a blood bank had been set up at Onitsha General Hospital and that the state government intended to set up more blood banks in remote villages with high maternal mortality rates.

Uju Okoye, the state's reproductive health coordinator, said that if the suggestions made at the conference were implemented, it would lead to better outcomes for mothers' health in the state.

The study also stated: “During the study period, there were 8,022 live births and 103 maternal deaths, giving an MMR of 1,284/100,000 live births. The MMR was 1,709 in 2003, reducing to 1,115 in 2012. This is to say that there was a 24.86 per cent reduction over 10 years, hence, in 15 years, the reduction should be 37 per cent. Most of the maternal deaths occurred in unbooked patients (98%) and within the first 48 hours of admission (76%). MMRs in NAUTH are still very high and the rate of reduction is very slow.”

When projected out over 15 years, this cut is roughly 38 per cent short of the state's 75 per cent reduction goal. It would take this health care facility 30 years, rather than 15 years, to reduce maternal mortality at its current pace.