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Explaining the High Maternal Mortality in the North East and North West Geo- Political Zones of Nigeria from the Gender Perspective
Current Issue
Volume 3, 2015
Issue 6 (December)
Pages: 171-177   |   Vol. 3, No. 6, December 2015   |   Follow on         
Paper in PDF Downloads: 23   Since Jan. 5, 2016 Views: 1485   Since Jan. 5, 2016
Authors
[1]
Innocent Emerenini Opara, Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts and Social Science Education, Federal University of Education, Zaria, Kaduna, State, Nigeria.
Abstract
The paper attempts to explain the high maternal mortality in the North East [NE] and North West [NW] geo-political zones of Nigeria from the gender perspective. A gender perspective looks at the impact of gender on women’s opportunities, social roles and interactions that assist in precipitating maternal mortality. Irrespective of the fact that all the states in the northern region has made maternal healthcare services-antenatal, delivery and post natal –free in all government health institutions, maternal mortality still remains high at over 1500/100,000. The paper is of the view that gender inequality within the region is at the root of persistently higher maternal mortality in the region. Relying on extensive literature review of various public health journals/health surveys/literature that dwell on issues pertaining to reproductive health, safe motherhood, childbirth, and maternal mortality, the paper exposes gender-based practices, attitudes and beliefs that engender low women’s status and the milieu that in turn make it favourable for the sustenance of the high maternal mortality levels in the region. Early child marriage; culturally-based gender discrimination in access to education and in employment outside the home; gender-based violence such as female genital mutilation; and unequal gender relations are key gender issues of maternal mortality in the region. The paper concludes that the deplorable maternal mortality in the region cannot be resolved merely through the region’s health policies. Solutions must be grounded in broader recognition of women’s human rights to health; improvements in women’s status; removal of practically all gender inequalities in the region; and improving women’s capabilities in general. The paper recommends among others increased female education in the study area; combating violence and abuse against women and girls; reduction of the high spate of child marriage through sensitization and advocacy campaigns to community and religious leaders, girls and parents in communities against early marriage; expansion of labour market and economic opportunities for women; and enacting the law on the right to safe abortion.
Keywords
Gender, Maternal Mortality, North East and North West Nigeria
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