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Health Experts Raise Alarm over Maternal Deaths in Anambra, Warn Against Child Delivering at Prayer Houses



By Praise Chinecherem

Health care practitioners have raised alarm over spike in maternal deaths in Anambra state in recent months.

This follows a report at the first Maternal Mortality review meeting, on Tuesday, in Awka, that the state record about 20 maternal deaths in six months.

Consultant, Community Physician, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Dr Chinomnso Nnebu who spoke during the meeting blamed the development on increasing patronage of pregnant women to faith-base organisations as against the hospitals during delivery.

Nnebu urged pregnant women to stop giving birth in prayer houses following difficulty inherent in managing pregnancy complications.

He said, “Some faith-base organisations will keep pregnant women and be praying for them instead of advising them to go to the hospital. Faith works but faith without work is dead.

“We need to educate pregnant women to stop giving birth in prayer houses because they cannot manage pregnancy complications.”

Also speaking, State’s Reproductive Health Coordinator, Dr Obianuju Okoye revealed that a total of 20 maternal deaths has been recorded from nine healthcare facilities across Anambra state between January and June 2022.

Okoye said the state established an electronic platform where hospitals in the state could record data on maternal deaths.

She said, “From the reports on our e-platform, the state recorded 20 deaths from nine hospitals between January and June, mostly from hard to reach areas.

“This review meeting will help the state government to know where the problems are coming from and how to collectively address them.”

On his part, Head of Department, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, NAUTH, Dr George Eleje urged pregnant women to register early for antenatal to prevent complications and maternal deaths.

He said antenatal care makes pregnancy safe and helps the woman prepared for an uneventful labour and also for a good pregnancy outcome.

In his remarks, Dr Afam Obidike, the state’s Commissioner for Health said that the meeting was to review causes of  maternal deaths in the state and proffer solutions to put an end to deaths.

Obidike described maternal mortality or pregnancy related death  as the death of a woman during pregnancy or within one year of pregnancy.

He said that Gov. Charles Soludo’s led-administration was adopting a holistic approach to end maternal mortality in the state, in partnership with the private healthcare sector which offered 70 per cent of health services.

“There are cases where a pregnant woman go to primary healthcare centres and when things become difficult, there is no where else to go. Hence we are working on strengthening the referral system too.

“If we put things right, we are ensuring the safety of the next woman that will deliver. Gradually we will reduce maternal mortality rate as much as possible in the state,” Obidike said.

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