By CrossRiverWatch admin
The Cross River State government has reiterated that one of the key goals of the health sector in the State led by the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong is to see that maternal mortality and morbidity is reduced to the barest minimum through increasing skilled birth attendants.
According to the health team, in recent months, there has been an upsurge in the number of women dying at Traditional Birth Attendant TBA homes and prayer houses.
Furthermore, at the end of MDGs in 2015, Nigeria as a country did not significantly reduce maternal mortality but rather there was a marginal increase while Cross River State still has over 50% of its women delivering with unskilled birth attendants.
Pursuant to meeting the goal of reducing mortality and morbidity therefore, the Director General of the Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency CRSPHCDA, Dr. Betta Edu yesterday flagged-off the process of development of guidelines for traditional birth attendants operations in Cross River State.
The meeting which was facilitated and hosted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) had in attendance, Mrs Bassey Duke, TBA President in Cross River State and several other TBAs from north, central and southern senatorial districts.
Others at the meeting include Dr. Kenneth Ehouzou, Head of UNFPA Cross River State, Dr. Ikpeme, Head of E.U SIGN Cross River State, Dr Rajesh Kapse, Director of PHC, Tulsi Chanrai Foundation, Mrs Yemisi Pius, State Program Manager of Pathfinders International, and other members of staff of the CRSPHCDA who are members of the TBA Surveillance team.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Betta Edu said Nigeria and Cross River State in particular is far from the ideal picture seen in many other countries as it concerns the reduction of maternal mortality and morbidity.
She noted that the present administration of Senator Ben Ayade and his Wife, Dr. Linda Ayade working with the health team are determined to reduce maternal mortality in the state and create an enabling environment for pregnant women to deliver safely at health facilities instead of traditional birth attendant houses or prayer houses.
She said, “A critical gap has been identified; a week does not go by without reports of death of our women in the TBA homes. Unless immediate steps are taken to regulate the activities of TBAs in the state, we cannot make any meaningful progress in reducing maternal mortality”.
This is the reason why our development partners are collaborating with the agency to streamline the activities of TBAs in the state and present them with guidelines that will checkmate their excesses.
These guidelines as identified by the DG, will reflect the community policing innovative intervention of Dr. Linda Ayade targeted at reducing maternal mortality. They will involve creating community champions from TBAs that adhere to the guidelines. The referral process will have reward and incentives for TBAs with the highest referral.
She tasked the TBAs to work for the success of the project which will improve the image of the State. She said the committee which includes TBAs representatives will come up with acceptable guidelines that will guide their operations henceforth.
Earlier, Kenneth Ehouzou, Head of UNFPA Cross River State and the chief host said UNFPA under Dr. Rati N. as country head is very happy to partner with Cross River State to streamline the activities of TBAs with the development of guidelines and code of conduct to guide TBAs across the state.
He assured the DG that as “development partners we will continue to provide available resources to support the work of the state Governor, Prof Ben Ayade in reducing maternal mortality in Cross River.”
Reacting, TBA President in the state, Deaconess Bassey Duke, said she was happy with the development and she is ready to follow the team even to churches to stop women from delivering with unskilled birth attendants.
She however, argued that age limitation should not be part of the guidelines because most of them were chosen by God to do the work and are still capable even beyond 60 years of age.
“We are happy for this meeting, we give our sincere gratitude to Cross River State Government for not trying to eliminate us all, but rather checkmating our activities and giving us new roles in the communities. We appreciate the DG of State Primary Healthcare Agency, Dr. Betta Edu and UNFPA for their support. We will work towards the success of this process.”
The committee is expected to come out with the final draft of the guidelines for immediate implementation in a couple of days.
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