Wife of Lagos State Governor, Mrs Bolanle Ambode, has called on government to equip Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) with necessary skills for safe delivery to address high maternal mortality rate.
Ambode, represented by Dr Ibironke Sodeinde, made the call on Wednesday in lagos at the 41st Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference organised by Medical Womens Association of Nigeria (MWAN).
Our correspondent reports that the conference is themed: “Maternal Mortality Reduction: Overcoming barriers and accelerating progress to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mrs Ambode said TBAs needed to have knowledge on how to identify when deliveries became complicated and when to transfer to a secondary health facilities to avoid casualties.
According to her, TBAs have become an integral part of healthcare services in Nigeria.
She commended Lagos State Government for efforts put in place to raise the standards of healthcare facilities within the state.
Ambode called on corporate organisations to partner with governments in reducing maternal and infant mortality in the country.
Chairman of the conference, Prof. Aba Sagoe, a Consultant Haematologist, called on government to ensure adequate training for TBAs.
According to her, majority of the deliveries in Nigeria are carried out by traditional birth attendants.
“We have to focus attention on training this sets of healthcare workers.
“Studies have shown that Nigeria has over six million births annually, only small proportion are done by registered birth attendants, the remaining are carried out by traditional birth attendants,” Sagoe said.
The Senator representing Lagos Central Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, urged Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on the health sector.
Tinubu, who was represented by Mrs Doyin Adeniji, said maternal mortality rate should have by now been reduced to the barest minimum.
“Improving maternal mortality rate in the country should include getting adequate statistics and records of cause of death, improved and affordable healthcare, quick response in cases of emergency,” She said.
According to her, poverty plays a role too in increased mortality and mobidity.
She stressed that reduced poverty rate would ensure better access to education and enlightenment and also benefit in antenatal and birth control.
She also called for better working condition for medical personnel
Earlier, the President of MWAN, Dr Omowunmi Bakare, said despite several programmes and efforts by government to improve the healthcare sector, it still lacked significant progress.
According to her, several factors are responsible for the high maternal mortality in the country and can affect service utilisation.
“These include walking long distances to access health facilities, inadequate health care providers, especially midwives and obstetricians, lack of sufficient items and consumables to be used during delivery.
“Others are poor attitude of health workers, use of unskilled providers such as TBAs and most importantly out of pocket payment for health services,” Bakare said.
The keynote speaker, Dr Memuna Esan, a Consultant Public Health Physician at World Health Organisation, said in order to bridge the gap, there was need for community participation.
“We need adequate human resources especially at primary healthcare centres to be able to provide adequate care and bridge the gap.
“Government must be able to monitor PHCs to ensure effectiveness,” Esan said.