- Only 38% births are handled by skilled attendants
Paul Obi in Abuja
In a strategic move to close up existing gaps in the nation’s Primary Health Centres (PHC), the federal government, monday deployed about 1,473 newly graduated basic midwives to PHC facilities in rural areas throughout the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The deployment is geared towards improving maternal, newborn and child health care and consolidating on the gains of the Midwives Service Scheme (MSS) of the federal government.
Acting Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Emmanuel Odu, disclosed this in Abuja at the commencement of a two-day orientation workshop for the first batch of the new basic midwives, numbering 443.
Odu announced that “the orientation workshop for second and third batches of the midwives would hold soon in Kaduna and Edo States respectively.”
According to him, “the NPHCDA and the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria are in partnership to place newly graduated basic midwives on a one year mandatory service at PHCs across the country.
“With 61 per cent of pregnant women receiving ante-natal care by skilled providers in the country, only 38 per cent of births were attended to by skilled birth attendants while only 36 per cent deliver in health facilities. He enjoined the midwives, as skilled birth attendants, to rededicate themselves and contribute to bridging the gap.”
He appealed to the midwives to see themselves as agents of change, stressing that a combination of their professional skills, positive attitude and care would stimulate health-seeking behaviour and service utilisation, thereby contribute to saving the lives of pregnant women, newborn and children in communities.
NPHCDA Director, Dr. Nnenna Ihebuzor, described the Midwives Service Scheme (MSS) as one of the flagship programmes of the federal government to reduce the high rate of maternal and child morbidity and mortality in Nigeria.
Ihebuzor emphasised the triple return on investment from skilled attendants at birth-saving lives of mothers and newborns and reducing stillbirths.
She disclosed that “the orientation and subsequent training would equip the midwives with the knowledge and professional skills to save lives of mothers and children at rural primary health facilities across the country.”
Also speaking, the Director, Nursing Services, Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs. Mojisola Okodugha, said engagement of basic midwives by the NPHCDA is commitment to the change agenda of the present administration.
The Registrar, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, Alhaji Faruk Abubakar, expressed Council’s readiness to collaborate with the NPHCDA to ensure that skilled health personnel are deployed to rural health facilities in the country.
UNICEF Representative, Dr. Garba Safiyanu, commended the agency’s significant efforts in MSS project and reiterated UNICEF’s commitment to reduction of maternal and child morbidity in the country.
He advocated quality health care in the country and pledged UNICEF’s continued support to the Nigerian government.
The MSS is funded through N1 billion budget in the 2016 federal government appropriation for maternal and child health interventions by the NPHCDA.
The MSS programme which was introduced in 2009 was the federal government’s public health intervention to reduce maternal and child morbidity and mortality in Nigeria.