This policy brief explores strengthening supply side components of the safe motherhood programme in Nigeria. Strengthening safe motherhood services was a key initiative in all PATHS supported states and at Federal level. Nigeria has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world and addressing this was seen as a priority by all stakeholders. Support was given to both the supply- and demand-side components of safe motherhood (SM).
Supply-side activities focused on improving maternal health care service delivery, by improving quality of care and access to skilled attendance at birth and particularly Emergency Obstetric Care (EOC). Particular interventions included:
- Strengthening EOC in selected public and private health facilities by training of health care providers, provision of equipment, and minor refurbishment of health facilities.
- Building State Safe Motherhood Committees (SSMCs) to play a stewardship role of the state Safe Motherhood programme.
Through this support more EOC centres were established and equipped and staff were trained to provide EOC services. Results showed an increased utilisation of services. In addition, educating TBAs on responding to danger signs and establishing TBA alliances was a key initiative in Enugu State.
At the Federal level the Integrated Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (IMNCH) strategy document was developed to focus on the need for a continuum of care for the mother and child. IMNCH is a new approach, is evidence-based and is consistent with the World Health Assembly Resolution WHA 58.31, which urges member states to among other things accelerate actions to ensure universal coverage of maternal, newborn and child health interventions. To ensure synergy in government efforts to meet the health needs of Nigeria, the IMNCH strategy was harmonised with the Ward Minimum Healthcare Package (WMHCP).