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Mamaye takes maternal health campaign to Lagos LGAs

From Right, Baale of Agboju; H.R.M Oba Gausu Alani Rasaki, Ovori of Ibeshe Kingdom; H.R.M Oba Taofiq Adegbyega Akeju, Ajahun of Imore and Apapa; Dr. Mrs. Okaga, representing SA, Primary Health/Director family Health and Nutrition; Dr. Mrs. Fafunsho and Fola Richie-Adewusi, advocacy campaign lead, Mamaye/Evidence4Action, Nigeria, addressing the people

Pregnant women and other residents of Amuwo Odofin and Ori Ade Local Council Development Area need to take full control of their lives and cultivate the habit of attending healthcare centers to avoid the high rate of maternal mortality being experienced in the region.

This was the high point of  a recent advocacy campaign  by Mamaye/Evidence 4Action, a nongovernmental organization and the Lagos State Ministry Health to sensitise the women and educate them on how to avoid the rampant  death during pregnancy and childbirth in the community.

According to Dr. Orebiyi Olatunji Sunday, medical officer of health of Amuwo Odofin Local government, Amuwo Odofin has a maternal mortality ratios of  525 per 100, 000 women.

“This is very high and it’s and must be reduced. We can only get that one done when we enlighten them (the women); likewise we enlighten the community what maternal mortality is all about.

“We want it to start at family planning; what the content of family planning is all about. We have different types of family planning, it is very important. Then when they are pregnant we are advising that within six weeks of the pregnancy they should go to the health center to register. It is very important.

“Most of the pregnant mothers at times, will be at home till when they are about to deliver, it is then they want to rush out. At times some of them develop a lot of complications that can be as simple as hemorrhage and you cannot use water to replace blood. So if they are not taken care of, it can lead to death.

“Most of them run temperature and when they run temperature in pregnancy it has a lot of implications on them as well as the baby. Another thing is that when the baby inside them is not moving, if there is no sign, then something is happening to the baby. It might be that baby has died inside the womb without anybody knowing it. Those are the things that lead to this awareness creation today. It is not a one day thing, it is continuous,” Sunday stressed.

“We are also using this same forum to sensitize our traditional birth attendants, TBAs, because they are many in our local government. We are here to sensitize them on maternal mortality because most of the deaths in their facilities are not being recorded.

“We want to enlighten them and also train them to know what to do. In health services there is a point that we have to refer, some of them don’t know at what point  they have to refer their patients, they keep their patients until when the patient is almost lifeless. That’s one of the things we want to sensitize them  about,” Dr. Sunday said.

Also commenting on the choice of Amuwo Odofin for the campaign, Fola Richie-Adewusi, advocacy campaign lead, Mamaye/Evidence4Action, Nigeria said from score card of Lagos State, Amuwo Odofin and Badagry scored low and that informed while the group has chosen to take the campaign to the two communities so far.

“We felt it will be nice to meet with the community people, sensitize them on the need for the women to go for antennal care; to deliver in the hospital and to also mobilize people to donate blood because shortage of blood is also a challenge.

“Lagos State government has a robust programme but you know it’s one thing for the facilities to be provided it’s another thing for the people to utilize those facilities so those are the challenges. The focus of this is to inform the people that facilities have been built, let them utilize it. Trained healthcare providers are there, drugs are there, they can utilize the facilities instead of going to TBAs.

“Most times, deaths that are recorded because they are referred late to the health facility. So if the pregnant women go for antenatal care on time especially before 20 weeks sometimes you find out that most of them come much later in pregnancy but if they report early for ANC with other tests that would be conducted, the professional healthcare provider will be able to know if there are danger signs that need to be referred beyond the primary health care. So that’s what this is all about.”

In the same vein, health education officer, Amuwo Odofin local government, Olawole Abiola, also described the programme as a laudable one while he was optimistic that it will go a long way in changing the record of high maternal deaths in the region.

“Because  most of these deaths are traceable to traditional birth attendants, TBAs and like we heard, not all of them are registered; possibly those who are not registered in the far land and reverine areas, because Amuwo Odofin and Ori Ade have a vast reverine and I think because of that the TBAs thrive more who are not registered. Possibly that might be the reason, but on the part of government we are not resting, we are doing sensitization that they should patronize our health centers at least that will reduce that trend,” Abiola said.

However, head, Donor Org. Unit Lagos State Blood Transmission Service, LSBTS, Olayinka Sijuade, who also enlightened  the community on the importance of voluntary blood donation said the programme is quite timely in an environment where awareness must be emphasized on the importance of donating blood voluntarily.

“Amuwo Odofin from the statistics that was given today had the record of high mortality in infant and maternal mortality. I want to believe that one of the reasons for the infant and maternal mortality is because of lack of blood and we are saying that a woman dies because of lacks of blood.

“In the 21st century like Nigeria, we should show more concerns on that kind of situation which I will want to appreciate the organizers of the programme, the intervention is quiet timely to create awareness on the importance of blood donation and encourage more and more people to donate voluntarily without cohesion and without actually expecting something in return.

“Quite a number of people still want government to give them money, give them stuff like milk, Milo and all the other things because they want to give blood. In fact they are actually doing themselves a great deal of help.

“The average Nigerian doesn’t go for medical checkups, so it’s a very good opportunity for them to get checked (because)  while they think they want to save the life of someone they are indirectly saving their own life.

“Quite a number of people who have visited our stand today were unable to donate and they were amazed. Some of them had very high blood pressure and another with very low hemoglobin level and ordinarily, these people will keep moving but they are not safe until when they get to the extreme when they will actually need a blood transfusion which might actually be too late. So I give kudos to Lagos State government and the organizers,” Sijuade said.


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