Infant mortality in Nigeria is still a big problem. Even though the population is growing fast, still, too many children pass away earlier than they become 12 months years old. There are several key reasons why it happens and they are common to many African and other developing countries.
The rate of infant mortality in Nigeria
The most recent data show sorrowful figures. 70 babies out of 1,000 born alive die without living up to 12 months. This is a horrible statistics. The rate is not the highest in the world – there are countries with even worse figures – still, it’s the second rank after the highest baby mortality rate on the planet. This is a sad situation, which requires immediate attention and prevention.
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Even though several years ago the situation was even worse, Nigeria is still among the places in the world where giving birth to a baby is not the best idea for both the mother and the baby. The maternal mortality during the labor is quite high, too, and it’s another sad tendency.
Infant mortality is the death of a baby under 12 months old. Losing so many children during the first days or months of their lives is a huge blow on the potential social and human capital of the state. The reason why it happens is in the general low level of knowledge about the babies and the process of labor, poor medical help, religious or other superstitions, poor living conditions, and so on.
Luckily, the state can reduce and eventually prevent infant mortality with the help of several important steps. First of all, it’s necessary to educate the nation and teach people to treat the health and lives of their children more seriously.
The main risk factors of infant mortality in Nigeria
There are several major causes of infant mortality in Nigeria and other developing African countries that experience similar problems. These causes should be eliminated in the first turn to reduce the number of baby deaths significantly.
- Reason one: diarrhea, its causes and consequences
Diarrhea is one of the major causes of infant mortality in Nigeria and all around the globe. Actually, the quick and huge loss of liquid causes incurable complications and death. Diarrhea is normally a symptom of a tougher disease like cholera, dysentery, and many others. All these diseases can be averted with the help of normal hygiene and timely medical help. Education of mothers on this subject can also give a huge positive effect.
Nowadays, Nigeria gives a lot of attention and effort to the prevention of these diseases and the reduction of the number of children who suffer from them. Mothers are being educated on the preparation of special solutions, which can be given to their children when they suffer from diarrhea in order to replenish the amount of liquid in the body.
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It’s a helpful strategy when combined with access to pure water and hygienic means. Another step towards the prevention of many diseases is vaccination against the most common diseases, which take lives of newborn children. Finally, the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for as long as a mother can to avoid the preparation of baby food with infected or contaminated water.
- Reason two: lack of education
Not all mothers in Nigeria possess enough knowledge to serve the needs of their babies and even their own ones. Sometimes, in rural regions where people lack the elementary education, religious superstitions are still very strong. It sometimes causes situations when even emergency cases don’t receive enough support and attention and a baby dies.
Enough education, good food for both the mother and the child, and high-quality health care services are the key to fight infant mortality or, at least, decrease its rate.
- Reason three: lack of adequate pregnancy care
A child cannot be healthy if the mother is not, especially during pregnancy. Constant prenatal care, regular medical examinations and tests can prevent further troubles that will cause the death of the baby or even bot the baby and the mother.
It’s very important to provide all women with access to medical help any time they need it and in any areas of the country. Women should not be afraid of the examinations and visiting a doctor while they are pregnant. They should be knowledgeable about the needs of their body during their pregnancy and the restrictions their current conditions puts on them.
Women should be educated on the basics of a healthy lifestyle while they are pregnant. A healthy diet and normal body weight, regular physical exercises, no tobacco, alcohol or other intoxicating means, no stresses or heavy physical work – all this should be explained to future mothers.
It’s also very important to conduct such educational campaigns with women’s families, too, because their influence and the weight of their opinion can be very significant on a future mother. The more people are knowledgeable about the health and safety of pregnant women and their babies the better.
- Reason four: incorrect baby care
Not all mothers or fathers know that it’s not ok to leave their babies sleeping on their tummies or on the side. Such sleeping positions increase the risk of the development of the SIDS, the syndrome of sudden infant death.
It’s also not allowed to leave babies to sleep on soft and uneven surfaces like couches, water mattresses, or big soft pillows. These surfaces are also known as the ones, which are able to lead to the development of SIDS. It’s forbidden to leave stuffed toys in babies beds.
Overwarming of babies is another cause of acute complications and death. Leaving babies in very hot rooms, covering them with warm blankets when it’s not cold, or dressing them in too many layers of clothes can cause overheating and death.
Finally, many parents sleep with their babies due to a number of reasons. It’s a very dangerous practice because an adult can occasionally injure or choke a baby while sleeping. This is especially important when we speak about babies who were born with a low body weight. Such babies must always sleep separately from their parents!
Out of all the above-mentioned things, it’s possible to make several conclusions. The ways to reduce infant mortality are to educate the population and to provide them with health care services of good quality. This is everything the government should do to save the nation through the lives of newborn children.