By Madonna Nwani
An Abakaliki based obstetrician Dr. Chris Okechukwu has decried the alarming rate of maternal mortality in Ebonyi State.
Dr. Okechukwu, a staff of Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki Ebonyi State Chapter lamented that maternal mortality in Ebonyi State was far above the national statistic average of 60%
In an interview with Citizens’ Advocate, Dr. Okechukwu attributed the ugly situation to poverty, ignorance and illiteracy on the part of the pregnant women.
He said, “Maternal mortality is measured one in every thousand. By the last national demographic statistics, I think, Nigeria in average stands at 600 and some fractions per 1000. And that data definitely is higher in Ebonyi State.”
The medical practitioner equally berated government’s health policy as a contributory factor. “On the part of Government, absence of primary and secondary healthcare contributes”. Because in moving long distance, 50 kilometer – say from Ikwo to Abakaliki for some one that has been labouring, the distance is merely time wasted and they come at a time salvaging them is difficult.
“If there is primary and secondary healthcare, take for instance, in those villages, they don’t need to travel long distance to come to town to seek healthcare services. Something like childbirth can be taken care of at Ikwo, can be handled at Edda etc because sometimes on transit, complications might develop and the person might not get to the desired healthcare facility in a good state of mind and body to be able to get appropriate medication. Maternal mortality is extremely high in Nigeria, especially here in Ebonyi State.” He asserted.
Dr. Okechukwu equally enjoined members of the public to change their perception and attitude towards voluntary blood donation.
He said, “Among all the healthcare providers, the obstetrician – gynecologist need blood most. For our pregnant women – especially when they want to deliver, it is one of the contributing factors to maternal mortality.”
The medical expert noted with concern that people are not willing to donate blood. “Even at the point of almost losing their dear wives, they will not volunteer to donate blood. Even when the importance of that donation is made known to them, they will not donate.“ He lamented.