#BounceExclusive: How Bayelsa Wants To End Infant, Maternal Mortality
Mrs Bibi America was in pains. Her situation was becoming too much for her to bear.
She was 7 months down the road of pregnancy, but the pain and grief were something she could no longer tolerate.
Her nights had become so long and full of tears.
Bibi could remember how it all started.
Her neighbour in her residence along School Road at Edepie, Yenagoa, had told her traditional birth was okay and she had yielded to her advice, but what was good for the goose was not good for the gander in her case.
The Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) had invited her for a massage and after the session, she was told that her baby is not growing well.
She was given some herbs to insert into her private part. She complied and in no time she started spotting (light bleeding from the vagina during pregnancy).
When she complained, the TBA also gave her a mixture of local gin and some herbs with assurance that all will be well, but things deteriorated.
The bleeding continued for three days, but she did not tell her husband nor visit the hospital.
In no time, she returned to the TBA and was told the child had died. It was another level of pain for her to evacuate the dead child.
She has passed through this same process two times, losing both children.
One thing has been blamed for this awful experience for some women - POVERTY.
The Bayelsa State government has had several of this kind of story. So many women have lost babies while some have died in the process.
To check the trend, the state government initiated a sensitisation campaign on Safe Motherhood Initiative.
The programme that started August 21 is on-going in 8 Local Government Areas that make up Bayelsa State.
The Matron of Okaka/Ekeki Health Centre, Mrs Joy Worgu, told Bounce News that "the Safe Motherhood Initiative "will greatly encourage pregnant women especially those who patronise the TBAs to come out and register with government facilities where they will access quality health care services".
During the inauguration of the programme, the government had promised to pay a 3,000 Naira stipend every month to expectant mothers in the state.
Mrs Worgu then pleaded with the government to keep it's promise concerning the payment of 3,000 Naira stipend.
The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Daniel Iworiso-Markson, affirmed that most infant and maternal death could be prevented if pregnant women were given adequate medical attention during pregnancy and childbirth.
He listed some benefits that the new policy offers to include the monthly 3,000 Naira incentive throughout the period of pregnancy and up to two months after delivery.
Other incentives, according to him, include free delivery, a pack that contains a pack of baby wipes, baby soap, jelly, baby towel, mucus extractor and umbilical cord gel.
The Commissioner also stated that "TBAs are indispensable in areas where there are no health facilities.
"Where hospitals are available, it is more advisable for pregnant women to be referred to government health facilities".
At Okaka /Ekeki Health Centre, some of the expectant mothers who came to register for antenatal care, expressed their joy.
A teacher, Mrs. Gift Knowls, radiating with happiness, commended the Governor, Mr Seriake Dickson, for his love towards expectant mothers in the state.
"Despite being a lawyer, our Governor have passion for health related cases especially, mother and child," she said.
Ms Blessing Imgbi, a pregnant student, said: "It is a good initiative aimed at preventing pregnancy related deaths", but she expressed lack of confidence in the payment of the stipend.
"As for the stipend, I have lost hope, confidence and trust in government promises.
"I won't be surprised if this is just another political campaign strategy," she added.
A commercial bus driver, Mr Alabo Alfred told Bounce News that "I personally went to register my wife when we heard about the programme."
"So far, everything is going on fine. We are expecting the stipend at the end of the month".
While concerns have been raised about the expertise of TBAs, Governor Dickson, however, called on traditional birth attendants to support the initiative and ensure the success of the programme.
He wants them to refer pregnant women who consult them to government hospitals for antenatal and proper care.
Some Traditional Birth Attendants, however, pleaded that the state government should engage them as staff of hospitals to enable them work with professionals and also learn.
The month has ended and the women will be waiting to get their first payment.
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