Wife of the Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, has again called on expectant mothers in the state, to utilise Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and skilled birth attendants, to reduce the incidence of maternal and infant mortality.
She gave the charge on Tuesday at a town hall meeting on reduction of maternal and child mortality, in Epe local government, organized by the State’s Ministry of Health.
Mrs. Ambode noted that refusal by expectant mothers for various reasons to access obstetric services, was a major contributor to the maternal mortality rate in the State.
According to her, “Almost every minute, somewhere in a corner of the world, a woman dies as a result of complications during pregnancy and childbirth. For every woman that dies, about twenty others survive but suffer from serious diseases, disability or physical damage, caused by these complications. Majority of these maternal deaths are avoidable if expectant mothers access quality reproductive health care, including skilled attendance at birth.
“Non-use of essential obstetric services is a crucial factor that contributes to high maternal mortality. Some women refuse to access care when highly necessary either because of cultural practices or because decision-making is the responsibility of other family members’, she said.
She stressed that while the role of Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) is acknowledged, it is important they know their limitations and ensure prompt referrals to the Primary Health Care Centres.
She appealed to all women of child-bearing age, pregnant women, as well as children under the age of five years, to avail themselves of the free services during the Child Health Week, commencing from Monday throughout the week, by visiting the nearest Primary Health facility closets to them.
The Governor’s wife, who urged women to pay attention to their nutrition during pregnancy, enlisted the support of families, religious and community groups to win the battle against the menace.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, noted that it was important for TBAs to be registered with the state government, adding that reports indicated expectant mothers still visited TBAs, who knew not what to do when complications arose.
The Commissioner said that the State Government had done so much in the area of primary health-care, as the Governor was very passionate about the health of the citizenry.
He enjoined everyone to come together at the end of the town hall meeting and resolve to do the right thing, beneficial to mothers during pregnancy and babies after child-birth, stressing that everyone had a role to play.
Delivering their goodwill messages, the member Federal House of Representative, representing Epe Federal Constituency, Hon. Tasir Raji and Chairman House Committee on Health in the State House of Assembly, Hon. Segun Olulade, both alluded to the fact that there was a strong link between the health and survival of a mother and that of her new-born.
Raji said it was imperative for the State Government to explore the possibility of registering the TBAs with a view to integrating them into the healthcare delivery system, as this according to him, would considerably help build capacity to ease burden in the health sector.
Olulade on his part, stressed that all efforts must be concerted to ensure no woman in Lagos State loses her life during pregnancy or childbirth.
In attendance were top government functionaries, traditional rulers, stakeholders in the health industry, Traditional Birth Attendants, and other relevant stakeholders.