MIDWIVES’ AND MOTHERS’ PERCEPTION OF MIDWIVES SERVICE SCHEME
Background to the study
Pregnancy and childbirth are normal physiological processes that bring joyful experiences to individuals and families. However, in many parts of the world, pregnancy constitutes a perilous journey, a risky and potentially fatal experience for millions of women especially in developing countries. Over 289,000 women die annually from complications during pregnancy, childbirth, or postpartum period (World Fact book, 2014 andWHO, UNICEF, UNFPA & The World Bank 2014). About 70% of these deaths are largely treatable or at least preventable (UNICEF, 2010) and nearly all these deaths (over 90%) occur in developingcountries where fertility rates are higher and a woman’s life time risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth is over 400 times higher than in developed countries (Audu, Takai, &Bukar, 2010). The situation in Nigeria is especially grave as maternal mortality rateas high as630 per 100,000 live births is still recorded (World Health Organization, UNICEF & The World Bank, 2014), thus including Nigeria among the nations with the highest number of maternal deaths (WHO, 2010, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) 2009). Nigeria makes up only 1% of the total world population but accounts for about 10% of the global estimate for maternal mortality (FMOH & NPHCDA, 2010). The new-born and under-five mortality rates follow the same trend with an estimated infant mortality rate of 74/1,000 (Index Mundi, 2014).This ugly trend has been traced to deliveries being attended to by unskilled birth attendants (N&MCN Newsletter 2011 & NPHCDA, 2009). It is against this backdrop that the Midwives Service Scheme [MSS] was initiated in 2003 by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (N&MCN) though originally as a mandatory service.