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The Women’s Health and Action Research Centre (WHARC) has won a competitive grant from the World Health Organization (WHO) to conduct a research titled: “Assessing the Impact of an Intervention to Improve the Quality of Emergency Obstetric Care on Maternal and Perinatal Mortality in Nigeria” which aims at improving the quality of emergency obstetric care and reducing maternal and perinatal mortality in Nigeria.

Severe bleeding after delivery (post-partum haemorrhage), hypertension in pregnancy, obstructed labour, infection after delivery (puerperal infection) and unsafe abortion are the five leading causes of death among pregnant and recently delivered women in Nigeria. Previous research has shown that women experiencing these complications die largely because they are not promptly managed with standard treatment protocols in hospital. Called type 3 delay, it is estimated that up to 40% of pregnant women who die during pregnancy do so because of poor and improper management of complications in hospitals.

Quality obstetric care offered by knowledgeable and highly motivated health care providers is now recognised worldwide as the gold standard for preventing mortality in women who reach hospitals with severe complications of pregnancy.

This National Implementation Research will focus on examining the nature and pattern of emergency obstetric care in six secondary and two tertiary hospitals in the northern and southern zones of Nigeria for three leading causes of maternal and perinatal mortality (postpartum haemorrhage, hypertension and obstructed labour). The results of the initial formative research will be used to adapt and implement a set of evidence-based interventions for improving the quality of care in four of the selected hospitals (three secondary and one tertiary hospital). The intervention will include the improvement of the quality of care for patients presenting with postpartum haemorrhage, eclampsia and obstructed labour using standard protocols and procedures in a timely manner in order to reduce associated case fatality, and decrease maternal and perinatal mortality overall. Four hospitals (one Teaching and three General hospitals) will serve as control hospitals that would be encouraged to continue their normal procedures for managing women who present with complications. By obtaining data from intervention and control sites, the research will be able to test the effectiveness of the intervention package in improving the indicators of quality of care and reducing maternal and perinatal mortality.

WHARC is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Nigerian Office of the WHO in implementing the project across four geo-political zones of the country. Within each zone, two contiguous states have been randomly selected for the project for a total of eight states overall. These include Ogun and Oyo States in the South-West, Edo and Delta States in the South-South, Niger State and Abuja FCT in North-Central and Kano and Kaduna State in North-West zones.

The project will span through a period of three years. An Implementation Development Workshop involving 24 multi-disciplinary team members and experts from various parts of the country will hold at WHARC ultra-modern office in Benin City, Edo State on January 21 & 22, 2015, while the research will start in earnest in February 2015. We are hopeful that the results of this essential research will be useful for developing and scaling up policies and practices for improving the delivery of quality emergency obstetrics care throughout the country. Continuous information about this project will be presented to the general public from time to time.

For further details, please contact the following:

1) Dr Rosemary Ogu, Project Secretary, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria

2) Ms Toyin Owolabi, Program Officer, Women’s Health and Action Research Centre, Km 11, Benin-Lagos Expressway, Benin City. Edo State. Nigeria

3) Ms Judith Ajayi, Media Officer, Women’s Health and Action Research Centre, Km 11, Benin-Lagos Expressway, Benin City. Edo State. Nigeria

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  WHARC Complex, KM 11 Lagos-Benin Expressway, Igue-Iyeha, Benin City, Edo State Nigeria.

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