The state of political priority for safe motherhood in Nigeria

J. Shiffman, F. E. Okonofua

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Achieving the ambitious maternal mortality reduction aims of the Millennium Development Goals will require more than generating sufficient donor support and carrying out appropriate medical interventions. It also will necessitate convincing governments in developing countries to give the cause political priority. The generation of political priority, however, is a subject that has received minimal research attention. In this article, we assess the state of political priority for maternal mortality reduction in Nigeria, which has more maternal deaths in childbirth than any country except India. We also identify challenges that advocates face in promoting priority. We find that after decades of neglect, a policy window has opened for safe motherhood in Nigeria, giving hope for future maternal mortality reduction. However, priority is as yet in its infancy, as advocates have yet to coalesce into a potent political force pushing the government to action. The case of Nigeria suggests that there is an urgent need for safe motherhood policy communities in countries with high maternal mortality to transform their moral and technical authority into political power, pushing policy-makers to action. We offer a number of suggestions on how they may do so.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-133
Number of pages7
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

Cite this