Maternal Health: Group Urges Women To Utilise PHC Centres.

The need for women, especially the pregnant ones to take full charge of their lives through ensuring the use of healthcare centres to prevent high rate of maternal mortality has become one of growing concern.

The issue was the major high point recently, when Mamaye/Evidence 4Action, a non-governmental organisation in collaboration with Lagos State Ministry Health organised an advocacy campaign in Amuwo Odofin and Ori Ade Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs).

The goal was to sensitise women and educate them on how to avoid maternal and infant deaths.

Stressing on how timely the sensitisation programme is to the people of the community, Dr. Orebiyi Olatunji Sunday, medical officer of health of Amuwo Odofin Local government, said that one of the things that is quite obvious in Amuwo Odofin is that maternal mortality is 525 per 100, 000 women.

“So it’s very high and it’s the same thing with Lagos state, so we need to reduce the maternal mortality. We can only get that done when we enlighten the community on what maternal mortality is all about.

“We want this to start with family planning –   content of family planning. We have different types of family planning, it is very important. Then they should go to a health centre to register when they are pregnant -within six weeks of the pregnancy; it is very important.”

Bemoaning the cause of maternal mortality in the area he said: “Most of the pregnant mothers often remain at home till when they are about to deliver, it is then they want to rush out. Some of them often develop many complications, including haemorrhage and you cannot use water to replace blood. “Some developed High Blood Pressure (HBP) and this has a lot of implications on them as well as the baby. Another thing is when the baby stop moving, if there is no sign, then something is happening to the baby. It might be that baby has died inside the womb without anybody knowing it. Those are the things that led to this awareness creation today. It is not a one day thing, it is continuous,” Sunday reiterated.

According to different stakeholders from Amuwo Odofin, many of the maternal and child deaths are recorded in traditional birth attendants’ places.

“We are also using this same forum to sensitise our traditional birth attendants (TBAs) because they are many in our local government. We are here to sensitise them on how to prevent maternal mortality because most of the deaths in their facilities are not being recorded. We want to enlighten them and also train them to know what to do. Some of them don’t know at what point that they have to refer their patients and they keep them until when they are almost lifeless. That’s one of the things we want to sensitise them,” Dr. Sunday said.

Also commenting on the choice of Amuwo Odofin for their campaign, Fola Richie-Adewusi, Advocacy Campaign Lead, Mamaye/Evidence4Action, Nigeria said from the scorecard of Lagos State, Amuwo Odofin and Badagry showed low performance and that informed while the group has chosen to take the campaign to the two communities.

“We felt it will be nice to meet with the community people, sensitise them on the need for the women to go for antenatal care; to deliver in the hospital and to also mobilise people to donate blood, because shortage of blood is also a challenge.

“Lagos State government has a robust programme but you know it’s one thing for the facilities to be provided it’s another thing for the people to utilise those facilities so those are the challenges. So the focus of this is to sensitise people that facilities have been built, let them utilise the facility. Trained healthcare providers are there, drugs are there, they can utilise the facilities instead of going to TBAs.

“Most times, deaths that are recorded are recorded because they are referred late to the health facility. So if the pregnant women go for antenatal care on time especially before 20 weeks with other tests that would be conducted, the professional healthcare provider will be able to know if there are danger signs that need to be referred beyond the primary health care. So that’s what this is all about.

Also, health education officer, Amuwo Odofin local government, Olawole Abiola, also described the programme as a laudable one while he was optimistic that it will go a long way in changing the record of high maternal deaths in the area. “Because most of these deaths are traceable to TBAs, we are educating them to patronise our health centres at least that will reduce the trend,” Abiola said.

However, head, Donor Organisation Unit, Lagos State Blood Transmission Service, (LSBTS) Olayinka Sijuade, said the programme is timely in an environment where awareness must be emphasised on the importance of donating blood voluntarily.

Stating the benefits of donating ones blood she said: “In fact they are actually doing themselves a great deal of help. Average Nigerians don’t go for medical check-ups, so it’s very good opportunity for them to get checked while they think they want to save the life of someone they are indirectly saving their own life. Quite a number of people who have visited our stand today were unable to donate and they were amazed. Some of them have a very high blood pressure and another with very low haemoglobin level and ordinarily, these people will keep moving, but they are not safe until when they get to the extreme when they will actually need a blood transfusion which might actually be too late. So I want to believe it is a timely intervention programme and I want to give kudos to Lagos State government and the organizers,” she commended.


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