LAGOS – Stakeholders on Wednesday called for collaborative efforts by governments, community leaders, the media and civil society organisations to improve and strengthen maternal healthcare in the country.
The stakeholders made the call at a media forum on Maternal Health Accountability organised by Development Communications Network (DEVCOM) in Lagos.
Mr Ayo Adebusoye, the President, Lagos State Civil Society Partnership (LASCSP), urged government at all levels to improve maternal and child health through the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs).
Adebusoye said that a Maternal and Child Mortality Reduction survey conducted in 2013 showed that most PHCs lacked basic amenities and personnel to function effectively.
“We were able to assess 30 PHCs in 2013 and we found out that almost all of them were unable to handle postpartum haemorrhage.
“And most times, they don’t have basic emergency delivery care equipment and ambulances for referral processes to send complicated deliveries to general hospitals for attention.
“Fifteen out of the 30 PHCs do not have power supply in the labour rooms; they still make use of candles and lanterns.
“Also, the attitude of staff discourages people from going to the PHCs and they patronise private hospitals and traditional birth attendants,“ he said.
Adebusoye said that they had forwarded their findings to the Commissioner for Health and local government chairmen so that the PHCs could be strengthened to reduce maternal and child mortality.
Also, Dr Luther-King Fasheun of the Wellbeing Foundation, said that a state by state approach should be adopted in setting targets for reduction of maternal and newborn deaths.
Fasheun said that each state in the country had its peculiarities in terms of environment, geographical location, culture, health problems and resources.
According to him, such an approach will fast track the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
In his remark, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, the Director, Legal Aid, Women Advocates, Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), urged government to be more proactive and committed to reducing maternal deaths.
Akiyode-Afolabi, who was represented by Miss Grace Ketefe, also called for improved access to family planning services, including a full range of contraceptive methods at PHCs.
She also urged women and husbands to report maternal deaths for appropriate legal action against defaulting medical personnel or health facilities.
“A lot of maternal and child deaths are avoidable and some are as a result of negligence, but we don’t seem to understand that we have a right to sue when such deaths occur, “she said.
Mrs Abiodun Owo, the Training, Research and Communication Officer, DEVCOMS, said that regular reporting of maternal health issues in the media would increase the knowledge of policy makers and attract positive action to them.
Owo called for collaboration among health professionals, communication leaders and civil society organisations on maternal health.
“The aim of the programme is to increase policy makers and government officials’ knowledge and action on maternal health situation in the country,“ she said. (NAN