By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
An international humanitarian and nonprofit making organization, ActionAid Nigeria, AAN, has trained 75 Traditional Birth Attendants, TBAs, in 55 communities in five Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, to reduce maternal and child mortality rates.
Explaining essence of the training programme at this time in the five Area Councils which include Abaji, Abuja Municipal, Gwagwalada, Kuje, and Kwali, Programme Advisor and Project Lead on Mobilizing Action Towards the Abolition of Infanticide, MATAI, Ubong Tommy, said is to ensure that the challenge of infant and maternal mortality is drastically reduced among hard-to-reach communities in synergy with primary health care centres.
Tommy also disclosed that the MATAI is a three-year project, which started January 2019 and had trained 75 TBAs as its maiden two-day capacity building for them in the FCT.
According to him the effort and passion of AAN is to collaborate with the TBAs and other nonprofit making organizations like Vine Heritage Foundation that would serve as agents in their communities to help women with the knowledge and skill impacted in the TBAs to ensure families and communities embrace best antenatal and postnatal care that would keep mother and child alive before, during, and after delivery.
The programme is being sponsored by the European Union, EU, for three years to tackle the menace in the five Area Councils of FCT.
He said: “Due to the difficult terrain of some communities in the FCT the initial plan was to link the Traditional Bed Attendants, TBAs, to health care facilities, but now the government is running universal health scheme, the government in order to meet the objectives of the scheme they train people from the communities to act as health agents in their communities and then link them to the health facilities.
“After much discussion with the Primary Health Development Agency is proposing to integrate these women into that scheme in order to sustain the knowledge given to them and to reach their communities and the training is not a one-off thing, but will continue in 2020. We will also monitor them and they will also have more training from the National Primary Health Development Agency.
“This training we have given to them using the chief training manual, what we want to enhance is their knowledge and let them understand hygiene and also to refer patients by picking up the warning signing that would save the lives of pregnant women, hence to reduce infant and maternal mortality rates.
“We have trained 75 TBAs in 55 hard to reach communities in five Area Councils of the FCT, and the Chairmen of the Area Councils have assured us that they are ready to support mortality cases.”
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He added that to sustain the programme there will be monitoring, continuous education and enlightenment training programme for the period of the three year period.
Meanwhile, addressing the TBAs at the training and sensitization workshop, the lead consultant for AAN, Dr. Nihilola Mabogunje, said it was imperative women in their communities are referred to health care facilities basically for antenatal purpose including postnatal care such as immunization, family planning, regular check-ups, and other health issues.
Mabogunje who spoke in Hausa language asked them to share their various challenges, which the TBAs identified poor nutrition during pregnancy and after giving birth, lack of routine drugs, severe bleeding, pains, retained placentas, abnormal positioning of babies in the womb, lack of access to scanning, hypertension, ulcer, high blood pressure, and others.