June 11, 2024

Borno Govt unveils CEmONC built by MSF to address maternal mortality

Borno Govt unveils CEmONC built by MSF to address maternal mortality

By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri

The Acting Governor of Borno State, Dr. Umar Kadafur on Tuesday commissioned the ultra modern and Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (CEmONC) which was built and fully equipped by Me’de’cine Sans Frontie’re’s (MSF) located at resilient Kushari Community in Maiduguri Metropolitan Council.

Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Hon. Bukar Tijjani said, the intervention is timely as it will complement efforts of the present administration in its Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement of its displaced people due to over decade Boko Haram crisis.

The SSG said, “On behalf of government and the people of Borno state, we highly appreciate MSF a.k.a Doctors Without Borders for its vision and mission towards complementing good efforts of the present administration. This edifice which is well equipped with state- of -the- art facilities will safe many lives, especially women and children”. He stated.

In her welcome address, Dr. Catherine Van Overloop, who is the Medical Director, MSF-Operation Centre Brussels, said, the CEmONC which will also serve as referral hospital, aimed to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality, adding that the hospital represents a beacon of hope for mothers and their newborns, ensuring they receive the care they need at the most critical times.

Her words: “Every life saved here will be a step towards a brighter, healthier future for Maiduguri and beyond. When we first envisioned this project in 2018, we were driven by the pressing need to address the high rates of maternal and neonatal mortality in Maiduguri or Borno state.

“We chose this location not only for its significant healthcare challenges but also for the resilience and spirit of its people. The overwhelming support we have received from the community, local government, and international partners reinforces our belief in this project.

“We are confident that the CEmONC referral hospital will have the desired impact. With advanced medical equipment, skilled healthcare professionals, and a commitment to providing the highest standard and quality of care, we will see a significant reduction in maternal and neonatal mortality.

“This hospital will be a sanctuary for mothers and their babies, a place where every life is valued and protected.” Overloop said.

Also contributing, the Deputy Cell Manager, MSF-Operation Centre Brussels, Dr. Ximena Campos said, the genesis of this endeavor can be traced back to 2018, when Médecins Sans Frontières, driven by an unwavering commitment to combat maternal mortality, set the wheels in motion.

She informed that despite the hurdles, including the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic that temporarily halted their progress, and that MSF determination remained unshaken. As the saying goes, ‘The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.’

To this end, she said, MSF refused to stay stagnant, as it is now proudly supporting safe deliveries in five Primary Health Care Centres (PHCs) across Maiduguri.

The Kushari Referral Hospital according to Campos, has been built to receive referrals of complicated cases from these PHCs, following specific medical criteria.

The facility she added is designed to address the most critical needs, ensuring that mothers and their newborns receive the highest standard of care during the most vulnerable times.

“Our vision for the Kushari Referral Hospital is to elevate it to the status of a center of excellence. We are adopting a phased approach, commencing with 30 beds—20 for maternal care and 10 for neonatal care. As we progress, our aim is to expand to a full capacity of 92 beds.” Campos said.

In a vote of thanks, the Commissioner of Health and Human Services Professor Babagana Mallam Gana commend MSF and the Borno State Government for their visionary leadership and relentless dedication to the advancement of healthcare in the state.

“We are also in discussions with potential donors and technical support partners to implement innovative and novel approaches like the Safer Birth Bundle of Care (SBBC).

“This initiative builds upon 12 years of research and development from Tanzania and Norway, incorporating over 140 peer-reviewed studies.

“The SBBC consists of proven training and clinical tools for improved labor care and newborn resuscitation, and integrates strategies for continuous quality improvement (CQI). This evidence-based bundled approach has shown an impressive 50% reduction in maternal and newborn deaths when implemented in 30 high-burden hospitals in Tanzania.

“The 2018 report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) indicated an MMR of 1,176 deaths per 100,000 live births in Borno, compared to the national average of 576 at the time. The same report mentioned an NMR of 64 deaths per 1,000 live births in Borno, exceeding the national average of 39. These numbers signify a critical need for improved newborn care and interventions to prevent preventable deaths. The Safer Birth Bundle of Care (SBBC) is our strategic response to these alarming statistics.

“As we inaugurate this facility today, we are not only celebrating the completion of a building but also reaffirming our commitment to the health and safety of our mothers and children. We acknowledge that the journey ahead will require continuous effort, dedication, and support from all stakeholders. We are committed to ensuring that this center operates effectively and serves as a catalyst for further improvements in our healthcare system”. Professor Gana stated.