Bayelsa Govt takes Safe Motherhood campaign to churches ...tasks Christian Leaders to encourage pregnant women on medical procedure
The Bayelsa State Government has taken its safe motherhood campaign to churches with a call on Christian Leaders in the state to engage their members on the benefits of the initiative.
At a meeting with the Christian Leaders on Tuesday in Yenagoa, the Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (rtd) said the government is fully determined to ensure that the Safe Motherhood message gets to every pregnant woman in the state.
The Deputy Governor disclosed that the Restoration Government will continue to engage critical stakeholders on the need to reduce the rate of infant and maternal mortality in the state.
He explained that it is the duty of the government to provide reachable health facilities for pregnant women but it behooves on them to avail themselves of the opportunity to use the facilities.
Jonah thanked Governor Seriake Dickson for the initiative and also praised the Commissioner for Health and his Information and Orientation counterpart for spearheading the campaign to save the lives of pregnant women and their infants.
"I am impressed by other dimensions the Commisioner for health is using to reach out to people, I also want to thank His Excellency for this safe motherhood initiative. In this case we need to tell our people the importance of this scheme so that they will know what to do and where to go. I want to also appreciate the Commissioner for Information for the mass sensitization.
On his part, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson said the meeting is a follow up to the charge by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson during the first summit on Safe Motherhood, that no life should be lost as a result of child birth.
Iworiso-Markson added that to show his commitment, Dickson has made financial provisions for pregnant women, approved the establishment of health centres in different wards across the eight local government areas with well-equipped facilities and the right personnel.
He enjoined the Christian Leaders to partner with the government to sensitise pregnant women, and assured of the readiness of his ministry to visit any church irrespective of its location to disseminate the safe motherhood message.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Health Prof. Ebitimitula Etebo said pregmant women in Bayelsa die due to lack of knowledge and insisted that it must stop.
He further said that as much as there are traditional belief system, women need to embrace the opportunity given by the government to ensure that mother and child is safe, healthy and sound.
"We are saying that every pregnant woman should go to health centre closer to them. As the sensitisation and the campaign is going on, all pregnant women should ensure that the registration process is done.We are not just doing this for the safety of our mothers but we are also doing that to ensure that our children stay alive.
"We are also given money to traditional birth attendants for referring pregnant women to the hospital. In addition to the monthly N3000 by the governor, you will be given N2000 for registering and another N2000 for antenatal. Once you have registered the scheme, everything from early pregnancy till point of delivery will be taken care of".
In their separate remarks, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Religious Matters, Pastor Samuel John Peters and the Government House Chaplain, Bishop Doutimi Egbegi encouraged pregnant women to do what their doctors say and never be afraid to go for Cesarean Section if the need arises.
In his presentation, a consultant Gynaecology at the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, Dr. Andrew Igbafe explained the major causes of maternal and infant mortality to include, Bleeding, Hypertension, Obstructed labour, complications during labor, unsafe abortions, among others.
Dr. Igbafe who advised the Pastors to always encourage their pregnant church members to go for ultra sound said: "Pastors should only do their job as pastors and let the Doctors do their job as Doctors. Not when we tell them to do this, you turn and tell them to do another thing. Please ministers of God when we are in church, let us leave the issue of health to health practitioners in the church.
"I want to quickly tell Pastors, Let us not equate our faith with the faith of members in the church. When you tell them to pray also tell them to do the needful with regards to medical checkups.
"No pregnant woman should complain about money because the governor has taken care of the monetary aspect. All you need to do is carry yourself to the hospital and leave the rest for the doctors.
The meeting had in attendance over one thousand clergymen and the State Chairmen of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN).