Speaker of the Lagos House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, has advised pregnant women to patronise only registered health facilities for effective antenatal care and delivery.
Ikuforiji made the plea in Lagos at the official launch of ‘Not Again Campaign’, a nationwide grassroots advocacy for the reduction of maternal mortality in Nigeria. The programme was launched by Women Advocates’ Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation.
According to the speaker, many pregnant women still deliver their babies in unregistered facilities manned by quacks and unskilled birth attendants. He said that some pregnant women who patronised such unregistered facilities were usually at the point of death before they were referred on emergency to the public secondary health facilities.
“Immediately a woman discovers that she has missed her period, she should go to a nearby health facility to register in order to get adequate maternal healthcare for the safety of the mother and the child,” Ikuforiji said.
The speaker urged medical practitioners, non-governmental organisations and the media to intensify their efforts in educating and sensitising women on the need to access healthcare during pregnancy.
“It is a collaborative effort because government alone cannot reduce maternal mortality in the country,” he said.
In his remark, Kayode Oguntimehin, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Primary Healthcare Board, said that most maternal deaths in the country were preventable and unacceptable.
“Nigeria today has the second highest maternal death rate in the world, which means that there is a need to improve our maternal healthcare. The Lagos State Government has been doing its best ensuring that maternal and child mortality is reduced. This informed the establishment of Maternal and Child Mortality Reduction (MCMR) Programme in 2012,” Oguntimehin, represented by Dr Ibiwunmi Akinde, said.
According to him, the programme is geared toward addressing some delays in seeking assistance and accessing qualitative care for pregnant women and children.
“Since the commencement of the MCMR programme, there has been increase in ante-natal attendance and increase in deliveries as well as infrastructural development,’” he said.
Oguntimehin said that Lagos State has 273 Primary Health Centres (PHCs); 267 of which are functional and 78 of which operate on a 24-hour basis, 26 general hospitals and one teaching hospital.
“We also have 57 flagship PHCs that provide Basic Emergency Obstetric Care and maternal healthcare,” he said.
According to him, provision of ambulances to strengthen referral system, procurement and distribution of family planning equipment at PHCs, as well as post abortion care are areas that need improvement.
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