Improving Women’s Access to Emergency Obstetric Care (EmOC) Services

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Assessment of the quality of emergency obstetric care services that women receive in three hospitals in Lagos state
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This study arose out of the Centre’s concern for the high maternal mortality rate that Nigeria records and the need to seek simple and practicable means of ensuring that a downward trend is achieved. The survey was small in size and was aimed at exploring means of developing minimum standards that will help promote women’s access to quality Emergency Obstetric Care (EmOC) services so as to ensure that women who are able to escape the first and second internationally agreed forms of delays in accessing care do not die having reached the hospital where they are ordinarily supposed to be able to access needed care. Furthermore, the survey was designed to understand how all EmOC service facilities can be monitored in relation to established standards on a regular basis.
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The survey was conducted at two secondary facilities and one tertiary facility in Lagos state: Lagos Island Maternity Hospital, Gbagada General Hospital and Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (Ayinke House).
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The assessment exercise revealed among other things that all the hospitals assessed were under staffed for the level of patients that visit them for care and that all three facilities lacked adequate equipment and supplies that they require to be able to work effectively and therefore provide quality EmOC services. One of the recommendations that came up as a result of this assessment was that strengthening the primary health care system will go a long way in drastically reducing the pressure that is put on the secondary and tertiary facilities and eventually lead to the effective deliverance of comprehensive EmOC services at their level and therefore reduce the pressure being put on secondary and tertiary institutions.
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A report on findings from the small survey was sent to the hospitals involved and follow up activities are being pursued to ensure that the maternal mortality rate in Nigeria is reduced.