800 Women die everyday during childbirth in Nigeria – Prof. Ekott
Frankie Ifop, Calabar
The Coordinator of Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON), Cross River State branch, Prof. Mabel Ekott, has stated that eight hundred (800) women die every day during childbirth in Nigeria – with religion contributing its quota.
Ekott who stated this in a workshop organised in Calabar on Wednesday, November 27, 2019, by SOGON with the theme ‘Partnership with the Church for improved maternal newborn health’, added that the death toll amasses to forty-seven thousand (47,000) every year.
“The recent survey shows that 800 women die everyday and 47,000 die annually during child birth in Nigeria. Nigeria leads the world in maternal death with a total of 2.6 million. That’s a lot and we are trying our best to ensure that number reduce drastically”, Ekott said.
Prof. Ekott who is also a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH, further stated that most of these deaths could be prevented if the women could get to the hospital and receive care from trained healthcare personnel (who are; Doctors and Nurse Midwest, CHEWS).
Stressing on the partnership with religious leaders, Ekott said, “We also know that religious leaders have a lot of influence on the congratulation and almost 80% of us go to church and listen to what the pastor say. We listen to their advise and wise counsel – so we felt it wise to bring the church leaders together from different churches in Calabar and present the date to them. Tell them the care a pregnant woman should receive, tell them the care a newborn baby should receive, tell them about where women lose their lives and that of their babies and ways to prevent them.
“We want to collaborate with them, we want to forge a partnership so that they can track every woman (especially the pregnant ones) in their congregation. They should monitor and ensure that the woman gets to hospital and deliver safely and the baby is well cared for”.
Speaking also, the Permanent Secretary, Cross River State Ministry of Health, Dr. Joseph Bassey, ably represented Dr. I. E. Esien, said SOGON is taking on a big responsibility in Cross River State which is well appreciated by the Government.
“When we go to church, we should respect the church protocols and when we come to the hospital, we should also respect the hospital’s protocols. We appeal that we should corporate in the appropriate way to end maternal death”, he added.
On his part, the Chief Medical Director, UCTH, Prof. Ikpeme Ikpeme, who was represented by the Chairman Medical Advisory Committee, Prof. Ogbu E. Ngim, said there’s concerted effort across boards to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity.
He said people listen to clergymen than doctors. “It is that reason that we are having this workshop to encourage partnership with the church and the hospital to move this forward. We are here to encourage all of us to have faith in our hospitals.
“Most women that die in the UCTH are those that have left it late while staying in prayer houses and other local delivery homes. I want to tell the church leaders to tell their members that orthodox medicine is the best and cheaper than the places they visit”, he added while asserting that only a few women turn up for delivery despite the large number that register for antenatal care (ANC).
A renowned clergyman, Rev. (Dr.) Fubara Manuel of Revelation Ministries, Calabar, advised pastors and ministers that “it is better to spend church money on our pregnant women than buying expensive caskets.
“Let us stop raring the dogs and forgetting to do the right thing. For caesarean section (C-S) that many forbids: is there anything wrong with opening up a woman? When you say thus saith the Lord and a woman dies, you are a fake pastor”, he added.