Nigerian official criticises maternal mortality rate

A government official in Nigeria has warned women's health is being put at risk too frequently during childbirth.

According to Dr Jide Idris, commissioner for health in Lagos, an "unacceptable" number of females are dying when giving birth, the Nigerian Tribune reports.

Indeed, official figures show that in every 100,000 births that take place in the country, 545 result in a fatality.

Dr Idris said this is one of the highest rates in the world and means Nigeria is unlikely to meet its Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

However, he noted that efforts to curb maternal mortality are proceeding apace in Lagos, with education being a particular priority.

"It has to be shown that health education can reduce the maternal mortality rate by 50 per cent," Dr Idris commented.

Nigeria also has a considerable infant mortality problem. According to the World Health Organization, 138 out of every 1,000 babies born in the country are likely to die before they are five years old.

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