By Gracious George
The Bayelsa State First Lady, Dr. Mrs Gloria Diri has assured of the state government’s commitment to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality in the state.
She made this known during an advocacy visit to her by the Bayelsa State Emergency Maternal and Child Health Intervention Centre (BYSEMCHIC), at the Government House Yenagoa.
She noted that as a public health educator she understands the challenges at hand and the high rate of infant and maternal morbidity in the State which has proven that a lot more work needs to be done in improving primary health care services.
Mrs. Diri stated that more advocacy will be carried out concerning the issues on ground, involving the legislative arm of government and relevant agencies such that funding and other necessary resources will be made available to support the intervention strategies proposed by the centre.
She also urged the BYSEMCHIC to intensify community awareness programmes, galvanize support from community leaders and establish a community management committee that will interface with the management of Hospitals across the state in order to protect equipments and make their work easier.
The First Lady thanked the group for the visit and expressed her readiness to play her part to ensure that their work succeeds which will result in saving the lives of mothers, newborns, and children across the state.
The Chairman of the Bayelsa State Primary Healthcare Board (BSPHCB) Hon. Mrs. Victoria Denenu said the current administration has proven that healthcare is paramount on their agenda and she is confident that the First Lady will deliver as promised.
She added that the centre is willing to work with partners, non governmental organizations that will support it’s work and help achieve set goals.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of the Board, Dr. Martins Bekesu said in Nigeria about 145 women die daily from pregnancy related problems, with over 2,300 deaths of children under the age of five,which calls for concern, and the need for the government to intervene speedily.
The Programme Manager BYSEMCHIC, Mrs. Happiness Massa, said the poor state of health facilities, lack of resources and low rate of hospital deliveries have led to a high rate of maternal and infant mortality,as trained midwives across the primary healthcare centres across the state are barely up to twenty.
She commended the state government for the Mother and Child hospital, the inauguration of the Primary Healthcare Board and BYSEMCHIC, the Conditional Cash Transfer to Pregnant women started by the previous administration which saw hospital deliveries move from 27% to over 60% and appealed to the government to do more.
During his presentation, the Public Health Consultant, Dr. Mordecai Oweibia said the centre has come up with strategies to improve health indices in the state such as reaching every political ward with skilled birth attendants, maternal and perinatal death surveillance response amongst others.
He highlighted the need for maternal and child transport services, community targeted approach to health by raising community health, influencers and promoters to make their work easy.
High point of the event was the installation of the First Lady as the ambassador of BYSEMCHIC in the state by the Chairman of the BSPHCB.