Nigerian Agency Deploys Trained Midwives to Curb Maternal, Infant Mortality

Eme Offiong, Calabar

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The Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, has trained and deployed 60 midwives under the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund Programme, to facilities as part of efforts to curb maternal and infant mortality.

The Director General of the agency, Dr. Janet Ekpenyong, said that the midwives, most of who are retired, were engaged, trained and deployed to primary health facilities within their locality to also encourage pregnant women to patronize government centre.

Dr. Ekpenyong stated that, the state government had invested in upgrading equipment at primary healthcare centres in all the eighteen council areas and was taking strategic measures to provide affordable healthcare services for the people, especially pregnant women and children.

She said, “we had organized a one week training and orientation for newly recruited midwives, which had the theme – Reach Every Ward with Skilled Birth Attendants, as part of modalities to implement the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund Programme.

“We thank the Nigerian Government for contribution towards actualization of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund Programme in the state. This will encourage pregnant women in our rural areas to access the services of primary healthcare facilities in their communities.

“Midwives play a huge role in creating demand for facility utilization, especially for pregnant women and children under 5. If you have a nurse and a midwife in a health facility, you are more confident that pregnant women are going to be receiving quality health services from a skilled birth attendant.

“In our effort to ensure that we reduce maternal and infant mortality, our centres should have at least one skilled birth attendant and that is why the governor, Professor Ben Ayade is committed to the actualization of this laudable initiative in Cross River State,” she stated.

She noted that Cross River was the first state to implement the program in the country as part of Nigeria’s national policy to curb maternal and infant mortality as well as make affordable health services accessible to its citizens.

During a ceremony to flag of the training of the midwives, a representative of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Obasi said the objectives was to ensure that nurses and midwives were equipped with modern regiments of service delivery.

Obasi stated that, the training was also to enhance seamless birth delivery in health facilities and not with Traditional Birth Attendants, most of who may not be certified.

Also at the occasion was the chairman, House Committee on Health in the Cross River State Assembly, Dr. Ekpo Bassey, who advocated for increased funding of Nigeria’s health sector.

While commending Cross River and Nigerian Governments for initiating the fund, a retired Director of Nursing Services, Mrs. Gertrude Usani said, “The traditional birth attendants most times bite more than they can chew. Some of them are experienced, but we always tell them to refer to a higher cadre hospital when they identify complications. But they always try to sort things out by themselves till the cases are complicated beyond management, they now send it to the hospital.”


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