|Dr. Betta Edu, Director General of Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency (Left) and Dr. Inyang Asibong, Cross River State Commissioner for Health (Right)|
By Prince Charles
Honorable Commissioner of Health, Dr Inyang Asibong who flagged-off the work planning meeting of SMGL noted that about 40,000 women in Nigeria died from complications of pregnancy and childbirth thus making Nigeria the second leading country in maternal deaths. In addition, deaths of newborns represent one-third of all deaths of children under 5 in the country. As of 2013, the maternal mortality ratio in Nigeria stood at 576 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births among the highest in the world. Low levels of facility delivery, skilled attendance at birth contribute to poor maternal and neonatal outcomes. we hope we will achieve in Cross River State at the end of the project significant reduction. Newborn mortality is very high in southern Cross River. His Excellency, Prof Ben Ayade will give his full support to the program while admonishing USAID and Pathfinders for choosing Cross River State as the first state to benefit from it.
Dr Betta Edu yesterday at flag-off of 3 days SMGL initiative FY17 work planning meeting at Tinapa Lakeside Hotel, Calabar hinted that the SMGL work plan meeting will go along way to improve quality of maternity care and institutional delivery services including EmONC. “Approximately every two minutes a woman dies during pregnancy or child birth and majority of these maternal deaths are preventable. That is why Cross River State Government is fully supporting Pathfinder International as they initiate the program in the state, the first of it kind in Nigeria. His Excellency, Senator (Prof) Ben Ayade and his Wife Dr Linda Ayade are grateful to USAID the funders of the project and has pledged not only to sustain the program but to support it with available resources in the state, also Her Excellency through her organization, Mediatrix Development Foundation is tackling maternal deaths in health facilities and communities said the DG, Dr Betta Edu.
|Dr. Betta Edu speaking|
According to her, the State Health Insurance Scheme “Ayade Care” which is about to begin in the state will play an emphatic role in creating an enabling atmosphere that will save mothers from maternal deaths as mothers are to access health care free of charge. She noted that the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development agency is strengthening the capacity of health workers through the task shifting policy to increase the skills of front line health workers to provide quality maternal health services.
|Dr. Inyang Asibong|
The country Representative of Pathfinders International, Dr Farouk Jega in his remarks said the Saving Mothers, Giving Life project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Pathfinder International in Cross River State and It is a comprehensive intervention that aims to reduce maternal and newborn mortality by 15 and 10% respectively, and involves both health facility quality improvement and community mobilization and demand generation activities, across all 18 LGAs in the state.
We are looking to key into the state’s plans and priorities for maternal and newborn health, which is why we have brought together all the stakeholders in the state. He listed Some key achievements so far which includes assessed 812 health facilities across the state for readiness to provide emergency obstetric care; selected and mapped 73 health facilities in clusters for effective coverage, taking into consideration transportation times from communities to health facilities, developed quality improvement plans and capacity building for frontline health workers on emergency obstetric and newborn care, activated emergency transport systems in 37 communities across the state and provided solar powered solutions to 50 rural health facilities to address power outages. Dr Jega noted.
Present at the Work plan meeting included, Director Public Health SMOH, Dr Omini, Director Primary Healthcare CRSPHCDA, Dr Ana Onebiene and selected stakeholders in health across the state.