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PROJECT TOPIC: ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF POVERTY ON MATERNAL AND INFANT MORTALITY

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Maternal and child mortality are not new concepts in the social and medical sciences. They both pose serious threats to human survival especially in the future generations. It is a saying, that the future of any society depends on the health condition of the women and the young population. The sustenance of the society and the economy largely depends on these two groups to this end, their health and security is of utmost importance so as to avert feelings of sadness, depression and loss of lives. According to Myles (1953);

The maternal mortality rate is the number of death registered during year of women dying from cause attributed to pregnancy and child birth for 1,000 registered total (life and still births) in the year while infant/child mortality rate is the number of deaths registered during the year of age per 1,000 registered births in the year.

This is to say that maternal mortality is simply deaths resulting from complications during pregnancy, labour delivery or child birth, while infant/child mortality can be any death occurring under one year or five years of age.

The tenth international classification of diseases (ICD) of year on the other hand, defined maternal death as;

The death of a woman while pregnant or within the days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and the site of the pregnancy from any cause related to, or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not form accidental or incidental causes. (pp. 2-3).

Similarly, the America Medical Association (1954) defines maternal mortality rate as:

The death of a woman while she is pregnant or within 90 days of termination of the pregnancy irrespective of duration of pregnancy at the time of termination or regardless of the method by which is terminated. (p. 4).

There are many factors resulting to maternal and child mortality in developing countries, these involves complications arising during pregnancy and child delivery, hemorrhage, that is, severe bleeding generally occurring during post partum, it is unpredictable, sudden and more dangerous when a woman is anaemic. The loss of blood in the process can lead to death if prompt attention is not given. Another factor that may result into maternal and child birth is prolonged and obstructed labour “poverty exist when people lack the means to satisfy their basic needs”. These needs when narrowly put are “those needs necessary for survival or broadly as those needs reflecting the prevailing standard of living the community. In Jos North for example, poverty is indeed a threat to women in reproductive age bracket. This high level of poverty limits their access to health which contributes to a higher percentage of maternal and child mortality in Nigeria and Jos North in particular.

At the end of the last century, sub-Saharan Africa still had high maternal and child mortality rate with the goals of safe motherhood eluding many governments. A documentary report on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) precisely 3rd May, 2007 revealed that malaria fever is very dangerous to pregnant mothers and children and more deadly then HIV/AIDS. The number of these groups malaria kills in one year is said to be what HIV/AIDS kills in 15 years. According to Dr. Adekunle (an NTA discussant, he stated also that over 80 percent of 270 to 400 million clinical cases occur in the African continent). Similarly, on the 30th of March 2007, another documentary on the same station, (NTA) suggests that children under the age of five and a total of 300,000 Nigeria children and eleven out of hundred pregnant women die of malaria fever every year.

Apart from the death rate being recorded due to malaria fever of both pregnant women and children, it was reported on the Africa Independent Television (AIT) on the 6th August 2007 at the 8:00pm news that Nigeria spends over 130 billion naira on malaria control. Alubo (1997) opined that:

Women in Nigeria suffer from all kinds of ailment and ill conditions and run the risk of sudden deaths in child birth. The main causes of this sudden death in child birth are obstructed labour, uterine infection, anaemia, ectopic pregnancy and cepsis etc.

These complications according to Alubo (1997) account for maternal mortality during labour and after child birth. All the factors by Alubo, as well as the previous presentations of the concept under study revealed that women suffer undue hardship during and after pregnancy. To put it right, many factors and complications can lead to maternal and child mortality as stated all through but of interest is the impact of poverty on maternal and child mortality and it is of sociological importance to identify how poverty affect the health of the mother and the child and the definite responses of government.


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