The Effect of COVID - 19 pandemic on the Utilization of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (RMNCH) Services in Nigeria


Gabriel Alobo Igbo*, Tolulope Soyannwo, Gana Christopher Hauwa, Anaba Ihuma Rita and Mohammed Zainab

Objectives: To determine how the onset of COVID - 19 Pandemic affects the utilization of Family planning, maternal and child health services in Nigeria.

Methods: This was a comparative cross - sectional study on the utilization of family planning, antenatal care, deliveries, and immunization services in Nigeria using secondary analysis of DHIS2. Service utilizations from 1 / 1 / 2020 to 31 / 12 / 2020 were compared to similar periods in 2019. Results were summarized using descriptive statistics.

Results: There was a 25.4 %, 30.2 %, 21.0 %, and 9.6 % reduction in OPD, ANC, Caesarean Section, and Total Deliveries in 2020 when compared to 2019. Family planning counseling and new acceptors however increased by 14.8 % and 7.2 % respectively. While the measles vaccine increased by 5.2 %, Penta 3 vaccine dropped by 7.1 %. In a pandemic paradox, there was a reduction of 66.5 % and 49.6 % in pregnancy - related deaths and under - five mortalities, respectively. New family planning acceptors increased in all the zones of the country apart from North Central, Measle utilization increased only in Northwest, Northeast, and Southwest. Pregnancy - related death increased in Northwest while fewer than five mortalities increased in South - South Zone.

Conclusion: Apart from Family planning, and the Measles vaccine, there were reductions in the utilization of intrapartum care in Nigeria during the pandemic. Although pregnancy - related deaths decreased, the study showed that in similar pandemic responsiveness, emphasis should be placed on improving access to intrapartum care.