Nigeria | Ensuring the sustainability of MPDSR

With the support of the MamaYe-E4A programme over the last five years, Nigeria has worked to embed the MDSR process at state level in the country –and is the only setting that we knew of with a sub-national level maternal death review (MDR) scorecard at the time of dissemination in October 2015.

In the last few quarters in Ondo State, two MDR scorecards have been developed by the Evidence Sub-Committee of Ondo State Accountability Mechanism for Maternal and Newborn, Health supported by E4A-MamaYe. These scorecards were based on the MDR data from all secondary-level facilities and two Mother and Child Hospitals in the state and aim to challenge the previous lack of reporting and review of maternal deaths. The scorecards were disseminated at a stakeholder meeting in Ondo and one of the key findings (that sepsis had overtaken haemorrhage to become the highest cause of maternal death) sparked lively debate.

The attendees explored the issues from both the woman’s and the facility’s point of view, and suggested strategies on both fronts for example, educating women on personal hygiene during antenatal care whilst also encouraging prompt referral of cases of premature rupture of the membranes at facilities.

One of the key issues discussed was while Ondo State Mother and Child Hospital provides most maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) services for free, the most effective antibiotics, cephalosporins, are not exempted from costs. This means that staff may be forced to prescribe women cheaper antibiotics because they cannot afford cephalosporins. This was also leaving women open to the risk of being sold fake drugs by pharmacies, which would be ineffective against sepsis. The Ondo meeting attendees discussed strategies to counter this issue, for example, advocating at state level to get cephalosporins included in the free MNCH services, and using TruScan, a device which can detect fake drugs, to ensure women are being given genuine drugs.

While MamaYe-E4A’s presence in Ondo State ended in March 2016, key components of the programme are being integrated into the DfID-funded MNCH2 programme in Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Yobe and Kaduna States including MDR scorecards and advocacy. In addition, under a new contract from the Gates Foundation, MamaYe-E4A is working to replicate this success in other States, including setting up similar systems in Lagos State.

Recent successes in Bauchi State include the review of MDR reports from 2015 by the Bauchi State MDSR Steering Committee, which enabled them and the Bauchi State Accountability Mechanism for MNCH to convene a stakeholder meeting to discuss and identify causes of maternal death and create action plans. At this meeting it was revealed that the highest cause of maternal death was anaemia, and possible factors causing this were identified to include the high prevalence of worm infestation and poor nutrition among women, as well as supply-side issues such as inadequate access to health services and lack of blood supplies. Discussions then focused on how to tackle these issues: how to ensure women are de-wormed regularly, provide nutrition education on diet using local foods, and how to make sure facilities have functional blood banks.

In Lagos State, the recent inauguration of the maternal and perinatal death surveillance and response system included launching a committee at state-level and supporting the training of 135 health care providers across secondary facilities and one tertiary facility. Training was conducted in four batches and was the first MamaYe-E4A had conducted under the updated national MPDSR guidelines which aimed to integrate perinatal death review into MDR systems.

This national level focus on perinatal death is being consolidated. In June, the National MPDR Steering Committee meeting members discussed building on the experience of MamaYe-E4A and MNCH2 in training health care providers on the updated MPDSR guidelines. A workshop was planned for the end of June where MamaYe-E4A and MNCH2 could share their training methodology, slides and materials to support the national MPDR Steering Committee in developing a training manual on MPDSR.

This focus on perinatal death is also filtering down to state level: the last MDR scorecards from Ondo State (January to March 2016) highlighted perinatal death review data in line with the national shift towards a commitment to perinatal survival.

To view the MDR scorecard for Ondo State (January to March 2016), please click here.

Acknowledgements: This country update was compiled from feedback from Dr Tunde Segun, Country Director for E4A-MamaYe Nigeria, and content from E4A quarterly reports.