About 1000 public health workers in Kwara State have acquired skills in the Emergency Obstetrics and Newborn Care, EmONC Project, which has repositioned them to better handle emergencies in child birth.
The EmONC Project is being championed by the Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) in collaboration with Johnson and Johnson (JnJ), and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM).
The Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care Project is geared towards improving the availability and quality of maternal and newborn care in Kwara State.
Since its inception in the year 2015, the project has been able to achieve its goal of reducing maternal mortality and morbidity through improved quality of care.
With the technical skills acquired by the medical experts, the level of stillbirth recorded has reduced by 38 percent in Kwara State.
Speaking at the training on improving the availability and quality of maternal and newborn care in Kwara State of Nigeria, the Senior Technical Officer Maternal and Newborn Health, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine Center for maternal and newborn health LSTM, Dr. Hauwa Mohammed, said the statistics of maternal mortality rate remains very high in the country.
“Now there is a lot of improvement, we still need to continue with education as some still trust traditional attendants.
“We have set up quality improvement theme, especially in the primary health care level, we try to get somebody in the community like the community leader to be part of the theme so that they would take the news back to their communities.
The programme partners also noted that despite large attendance at Antenatal classes, in-facility deliveries remain low.
“Many factors result in the low turn out but we have introduced respectful maternity care concept to mitigate against them.
“The support we want from government is to support their staff in the state to bring policies where there can be task shifting such that jobs don’t stop. For example, if a patient comes in with incomplete abortion and there is a nurse on duty that can do that procedure, she does not have to wait for the doctor who is in the theatre doing something else.
“We should have policies that will allow the nurse to back the doctor up and do such things just the same way the community health extension workers can also do for the nurses” Dr Mohammed said.
Founder of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Mrs Toyin Saraki, who joined the event virtually, expressed satisfaction as the goals of the project is being achieved.
Speaking further, the National Programmes Leader of the Wellbeing Foundation Dr Otun Adewale, noted that health workers that are managing mothers and babies are well trained and given the required skills in Kwara State.
“This is the first time we are having such opportunities in Nigeria facilitated by Barrister Toyin Saraki in 2015. The programme we are doing today is a round-off of the programmes that have been on for over 5 years.
“The programme has recorded 38 percent reduction in maternal death, pregnancy related issues, we have also trained close to 1000 health workers across all cadres -doctors, nurses and community health workers. The ripple effect of it is that they return to their facilities as Master Trainers and upskill more professionals on this.
The programme has also donated over 10 skills labs for hospital in Kwara state whereby hospital management board can also work on that in training and retraining new recruits and other staff that have not been trained. In this way, we are assured that the long term effect of this would be a decline in maternal and neonatal mortality.
“All Nigerian states’ ministries of health should key into training, especially when there is shortage of health workers as a result of brain drain. We don’t have enough, while doctors and nurses are leaving enmasse. Hence, when you train the few ones you have, you are assured that the few who remain behind are well equipped and they would know what to do at the right time. Government should key into it by making best use of the materials given to them and invest more in training their health workers as it will go a long way in reducing maternal death” Adewale said.
The Kwara State Commissioner for Health, Dr Raji Razaq, noted that training has brought development to the health care system in the state as the skills acquired are germane to effective service delivery.
Dr Razaq lauded the Wellbeing Foundation Africa for the capacity building and pledged support from the state government.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries of the training programme, Dr Akorede Kamil from General Hospital Omu-Aran in Irepodun Local Government Area of the state, expressed delight on the programme as they would key into the training programme and train others as well.
The Emergency Obstetrics and Newborn Project, which started in 2015 has now been officially closed with plans for regular follow up by the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and partners to ensure sustainability.