Maternal health: Association urges Ogun govt to upgrade PHC facilities in rural communities

As the world celebrates International Day for Maternal Health and Rights, women in Ogun State under the auspices of the Women Association on Maternal Health have called on the state government on the need to upgrade all higher primary health care facilities in the state.
The Association which comprises women from different religious and social bodies such as the Women Wing of Christian  Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN), Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOWAM) decried recurring maternal mortality amongst women in the state.
Representing WOWICAN, Lady Beatrice Obafemi, explained that the lifetime risk of a Nigerian woman dying during pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum or post-abortion is 1 in 22, in contrast to the lifetime risk in developed countries estimated at 1 in 4900.
 Obafemi revealed this during a press conference organised by the Association on maternity health held at SS Peter and Paul Adatan Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.
She added that a large number of women dying as a result of pregnancy-related complications such as malaria, anaemia, haemorrhage, hypertension, obstructed labour, unsafe abortion, sepsis, among others was worrisome.
Obafemi stressed that the health of women and children demand special attention.
“This Health Care delivery system is the bedrock of the national health system and a sure way towards achieving the sustainable development goals.
“Some critical findings that affect maternal health are the primary health care centres in Ogun State are not conducive to provide health care services for pregnant women.
“All the facilities assessed were found to be providing antenatal and newborn services in addition to malaria and child health services.
 However, none of the facilities has ultrasound machines.
“Essential equipment to deliver basic obstetric emergency health care services is generally absent in all the primary health care facilities in the targeted local governments.
“The inadequate number of frontline health workers has no access to clean water in the Primary Health posts due to increase in population, some primary health care facilities need to be upgraded. For example; a primary health post established 15 years ago needs to be upgraded to higher primary health care facilities so as to accommodate the increasing population.
“In furtherance to the findings, we observed that in the past years the budget allocations were voted more for secondary and tertiary health institutions.
” This lip service to the primary health care system for years shows the systemic weaknesses and long term neglect of PHC and have left the secondary health care is in comatose.
” The available data revealed that 70 per cent of maternal issues could be treated at the primary care levels and just 20 per cent of maternal cases need to get to the secondary level and five per cent to the tertiary level if only the primary health care is strengthened. There will be no pressure on the general hospitals and the teaching hospitals.
“We cannot but appreciate the present administration under the leadership of the His Excellency, Prince Dapo Abiodun for some of the interventions in the primary health care sector,” he added.
The association appealed to Governor Dapo Abiodun to provide ultrasound machine (scanning machines) in specific PHC centres for easy accessibility of pregnant women in rural communities.
They also asked the government to provide more tricycle ambulances for easy referral in emergence cases and basic obstetric emergency health care services in all the Primary Health Care Centers.

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