Maternal Health Care Delivery in Northern Nigeria: An Assessment of Rotary International’s Intervention Programme (2000-2007).


Health is a basic human right that is vital to sustainable development, but this right appears to elude the majority of women, according to a 2003 World Bank Report. This is because as was reported by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), “every minute, another woman dies in childbirth. In Nigeria, one in 13 women face a lifetime risk of maternal death while another estimated 2 million women are faced with other pregnancy-related diseases such as Fistula.

Nigeria is only percent of world’s population but accounts for over 10 percent of the world’s maternal deaths. This dismal situation informed a 1987 International Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, where nations all over the world made a commitment to reduce maternal mortality by taking measures to improve the health of mothers through the “Safe Motherhood Initiative”. In spite of this, the problem did not abate. This led to the United Nations to include a 75 percent reduction in maternal mortality as one of its Millennium Development Goals (DMGs).

In order to give support and supplement the efforts of governments in Nigeria, especially in the north, where maternal deaths were 1,549 per 100,000 as against that of 165 per 100,000 deaths in the southwest. Consequently, the Rotary International embarked on a maternal health project, which took place during 1995-2000 with a pilot Project in two Local Government Areas, and later scaled up to cover six States from year 2000 to 2007 (child spacing, Family health, and HIV/AIDS education).

This study aimed to know the objectives of the Rotary Project, its strategies and outcomes. The two hypotheses were to test whether the Project contributes significantly to improvement of maternal health care service delivery; and whether the management structure of the Project contributed to its success. Data were gathered from both primary and secondary sources, which include interviews, questionnaires, Project documents and reports. 


Maternal Mortality or maternal death is defined as “the death of a woman while pregnant, or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and the site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to, aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental cause” (WHO, 1993). The death of a mother is more than a personal tragedy; it represents an enormous cost to her nation, her community and her family.

When a mother dies, her children lose their primary care giver, communities are denied her paid and unpaid labour and countries forego her contributions to economic and social development (Fathala, 1992). An estimated 585,000 (over half million) mothers die each year from causes related to childbirth, ninety-nine percent (99%) of these in developing countries (Maine, 1987).

In Nigeria, 1 in every 13 women face a lifetime risk of maternal death. Yet, most maternal deaths are preventable mainly through medical intervention and political will by the government (Shiffman and Okonofua, 2007). Maternal mortality has received global attention. The reduction of maternal mortality is one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), specifically, it is number five (5th MDGs) of the MDGs.

The target is to reduce it by 75% by the year 2015. The state of maternal and child health is one of the indicators of a 22 society’s level of development, as well as an indicator of performance of the health care delivery system. According to Goulet (1992:470), development is “a two-edged sword which brings benefits but also produces losses, and generates value conflicts. One of the benefits is the improvement in maternal well-being. 


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StudentsandScholarship Team.

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