Traditional Birth Attendants, major impediment to maternal health — Coordinator

ENUGU – Dr Ngozi Nwosu, the South East Coordinator of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), has described Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) as major threat to maternal health.
Nwosu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Tuesday that increased patronage of TBAs in communities in the zone had become worrisome.
According to her, the proportion of women that receive ante-natal care in health centres is a lot more than those that are delivered of their babies in health facilities.
The coordinator said that some traditions in some of the states were inhibiting the attainment of universal health coverage as such customs encouraged women to patronise TBAs.
“In parts of Anambra and Ebonyi states, the people believe that women who are delivered of babies in hospitals are not strong and this is part of the illiteracy problem we face,” she said.
Nwosu added that pregnant women who patronised such places were prone to infections as the TBAs lacked the requisite knowledge and facilities to take care of deliveries.
She said hypertension in pregnancy was a regular occurrence in women who were over 35 years and were having their first pregnancy.
“Bleeding and hypertension in pregnancy are the most common causes of maternal death in this area and the TBAs do not have the skill to prevent them.
“If a woman refuses to go to a health facility, she may die or get complications that might live with her for life.
“For instance, if a woman has genital tract infection around the time of delivery, she may end up having infertility later in life.’’
The NPHCDA coordinator, therefore, appealed to pregnant women to avail themselves of the services of the many health facilities and the Midwives Services Scheme (MSS) provided by the Federal Government to achieve safe delivery.
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She appealed to governments to increase funding in the health sector and to ensure that the health ministry accessed assistance from donor agencies, including training for health personnel.
She said the MSS had reduced maternal morbidity and mortality in the area, adding that government needed to sustain the scheme.
She noted that “what we have done is to link the health centres with general hospitals in order to get the services of consultant gynaecologists.
“We also increased the number of facilities such that in every five kilometre radius, there is a health facility to reduce morbidity.
“We are worried about the health of the mother. We do not want any woman to die,’’ she stressed. (NAN)
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