Lagos Government Builds Eight Maternal And Childcare Centres In 5 Years
…Set to operate 24-hour Primary Health Care Centre in 57 Local Councils
Oct 18, 2012 - Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Thursday launched the Maternal and Child Care Mortality Reduction Programme in the State, stating that the State has built eight Maternal and Child Care Hospitals in the past five years to provide life saving services to mothers and children.
The Governor who spoke at the Blueroof Hall, LTV 8 Complex Agidingbi said five have gone into full operation, while out of the remaining three, two have been completed with training of staff that have been specially recruited to be familiar with the equipment and the facilities before being deployed currently going on.
Governor Fashola said government is not done yet as this year it has awarded another two MCCs in Badagry and Epe to ensure that the project to reduce distance to hospital for pregnant women, is statewide and all embracing.
Governor Fashola who took a retrospective look at the programme said it is a project within a comprehensive programme that started in 2007, adding that when he was elected as Governor one of the challenges he resolved to confront was the unacceptable index of women of children or both who lost their lives in the process of giving life.
He said his interactions with professionals in the medical fields both within the State service and private sector showed the many causes of infant and maternal mortality which were many and varied.
Among them were the issues of diet, lifestyle, undiagnosed non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes, complications during pregnancy, quackery, distance to properly equipped hospitals which sometimes led to fatalities during emergencies.
The Governor who gave a status report on each of the factors said as at today, government has resolved a number of them and still has its hands on the plough to overcome those that are still receiving attention.
On diabetes and hypertension screening and treatment which was one of the first to be flagged off at Ifako –Ijaiye on assumption of office, between 2007 and July 2012, a total of 96,468 people have been screened and is still continuing.
"What was most revealing was the lack of knowledge about our people and women of child bearing age about the lifestyle choices and what they ate and how this pre-disposed them to risk during pregnancy".
"Of course there were cultural issues about the gender preference in our society and not a few women have lost their lives in order to have a child of a particular sex, especially when seeking either to have a male child to please relations or when seeking to have a female child to please herself", he explained.
Shedding light on other components of the programme, Governor Fashola said that the State has not stopped there but has enacted provisions to protect pregnant women from being denied financial support which is critical to access to good nutrition by the men who impregnated them just as there is also a law for the protection of women who suffer post-partum depression by legislating it as a defence to any criminal act they commit during the period of depression.
The Governor explained that as progress was being made with projects to overcome the problems of non-communicable diseases and the risk they pose to pregnant women, government also commenced the implementation of the project to reduce the distance between the pregnant woman and the hospital.
"At that time only the Lagos Island Maternity where I was born; and Ayinke House in Ikeja were the preferred facilities for women who lived in places like Badagry, Ikorodu, Epe and other far flung places of Lagos".
"We designed the prototype of the 100 Bed 4 Storey Mother and Child Centre (which we have upgraded to a 110 Bed) that have commended themselves to other States in Nigeria today", the Governor stated.
He added that though Lagos does not get oil derivation money, it will not spare any tax income that is entrusted to it in order to give life to the vessels of life and protect God's precious gifts to mankind.
The State Governor reiterated that between the time when the first facility was opened in 2010 and June this year, the five Mother and Child Hospitals have delivered 45, 249 babies while out of the number 15,050 were caesarian sections and 29,497 were normal deliveries, adding that within the same period a total of 415, 259 women have been attended to in ate-natal clinic visits.
On Primary health care and grass roots investment, the Governor said in line with the commitment of the State Government to provide one model Primary Health Care Centre that will be open for 24 hours in each of the 57 Local Councils, the first five are ready to start providing the 24 hour service while others are in various stages of renovation and provision of equipment.
"The idea of training graduates to convert to health volunteering support, where 300 graduates recently successfully completed the training is a critical component not only of repositioning the Primary Health Care system by strengthening its staff capacity through our task shifting innovation; but also to arm our young people with new skills that leads them to jobs".
"These successful graduates have already been deployed to some of the ready flagship centres where they will be contributing their share of efforts to solve a national programme. We have also put in place a scholarship scheme to support those who become sufficiently inspired to train as professional health care givers", the Governor added.
Governor Fashola said next in line in the quest to overcome the challenge of infant and maternal mortality is the improvement of mid-wives and the traditional birth attendants with the government already embarking upon training of 2350 traditional birth attendants, 231 health workers on Emergency Obstetric Care, 121 Local Government Health workers on Essential Newborn Care and 51 health workers on Contraceptive Logistics Management system.
The Governor who also launched the home based Maternal and Child Health hand books as an integral part of sensitization and enlightenment towards maternal and child mortality reduction directed that it should be issued free to any pregnant woman when they get registered for Ante-Natal care.
He explained that the Maternal Health handbook contains a complete medical and obstetric history of the woman for four pregnancies and thus ensure continuum of care wherever she seeks medical services and intervention and also provides information on danger signs in pregnancy, family planning, nutrition in pregnancy, exclusive breast feeding, birth preparedness and complication readiness which are all aimed at improving her knowledge and health seeking behaviours.
"Our women of reproductive age are advised to carry the handbooks at all times during pregnancy. If properly used by all mothers in the State, it could serve as an important means to assess epidemiological characteristics of the pregnant population, necessary for deciding priorities, planning and budgeting from a public health perspective".
"The private health facilities also have a role to play in preserving the birth of our mothers and children because over 50 percent of the deliveries in the State take place in them", he stated.
He said the project launch would be followed by town hall meetings in the Senatorial districts of the State to further disseminate the goals and objectives of the programme and encourage the use of the handbooks.
"Local Government Chairmen and their spouses are expected to mobilize their constituencies to translate to the utilization of the services being made available", he said while also expressing the hope that the Civil Society Organisations will continue to protect the interest of consumers by serving as independent monitors and watchdogs of the programme".
Governor Fashola restated that the Millennium Development Goals number four and five are minimum development goals in Lagos State which would be achieved and also commended the Maternal and Child Mortality Reduction (MCMR) Ambassadors who have accepted to take on the task of championing the cause.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris expressed optimism that with the formal launch, gaps in maternal, newborn and child health service delivery will be further addressed with resultant impact on the health indices of the mothers and children.
He added that the State will continue to increase her investments in the human resources for health, infrastructural upgrade of health facilities and advocacy relevant to reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health as well as continue to promote collaboration with related sectors like education, water and sanitation, transportation and information and communication technologies to attain her objectives.
In his address, the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu who was represented by the Chief Medical Director of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Professor Akin Osibogun commended the efforts of the government of Lagos State for the well being of the mother and child.
The Minister said the Maternal mortality rate in Nigeria is one of the highest in the world and is one of the reasons that has compelled the Federal Government to put several measures in place to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
He pledged that the Federal Government will continue to provide the necessary assistance to the State Government in improving healthcare and also thanked the development partners for partnering Lagos in promoting maternal care.
In a message of goodwill from the United Nations organizations like the United Nations Children Educational Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Olubunmi Asha reiterated the commitment of the United Nations to continue to support the people and government of Lagos to ensure that every birth is safe and that every woman and girl child is treated with dignity and respect.
She added that the United Nations agencies will also ensure that every child is born safely to fulfill his purpose and destiny in life.
Also speaking, one of the Maternal Child Care Reduction Ambassadors and former Deputy Governor, Princess Sarah Adebisi Sosan congratulated the State Government for investing in Maternal and Child Care Mortality Reduction.
She also enjoined women to take advantage of several Primary Health Centres around the State and also urged the women to ensure that as they leave the venue of the programme, they spread the news on behalf of the government to all other women.
He also urged the men folk to encourage their wives to embrace the various services provided by the MCMR when they get pregnant while also preventing unwanted pregnancies through appropriate use of contraceptives.
The overview on the Maternal and Child Mortality Reduction Programme was presented by Professor Bamdele Osinusi while the overview on Maternal Booklet and Child Booklets were presented by Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora and Hon Abike Dabiri- Erewa respectively.
Prominent among those who attended the programme were the First Lady, Dame Emmanuella Abimbola Fashola, former Deputy Governor, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, members of the State Executive Council including the Special Adviser on Public Health, Dr Yewande Adeshina, House of Assembly member, Hon Adefunmilayo Tejuosho, Chairman of Local Government Councils, the Akran of Badagry, Aholu Menu Toyi I, other traditional rulers and several stakeholders in the health sector.