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In Bauchi, maternal mortality takes back seat
Bauchi State is regarded as one of the most backward in the country in the area of access to quality health facilities and this might be responsible for its high rate of infant and maternal mortality. Available statistics show that it has the highest casualty figure of maternal mortality, particularly during delivery.
The high rate of maternal mortality could also be attributed to the high cost of medical services as most of the women could not afford medical bills. This development prompted some of them to seek health care services from alternative source in spite of its alleged attendant negative effects.
Although, there are hospitals and other health institutions in the state, but many of the residents could not afford their services due to poverty. Where the people could afford the bills, there were no doctors to attend to them and where there were doctors, the facilities on ground were grossly inadequate to attend to the multitude patients who needed prompt medical attention.
The present PDP-led administration of Governor Isa Yuguda is, however, determined to make the health sector proactive and responsive to the needs of the teeming patients. Besides providing drugs and other facilities needed for quality health care delivery, the administration has embarked on the rehabilitation of general hospitals and other health centres and it is on record that all the general hospitals in the state have access to water which hitherto was lacking.
Again, the state government has launched the roll back malaria and safe motherhood schemes and had earlier launched the National Health Insurance Scheme for civil servants in the state and paid the counterpart funding which would enable them access the scheme immediately.
Speaking during the launch of the Roll Back Malaria and Safe Motherhood schemes, Governor Yuguda stated that the health sector was one of the priorities of his administration because, according to him, “when we came on board, virtually everything in the health sector, ranging from structures to personnel, equipment and drugs were absent, obsolete or in serious deplorable condition”.
The number one citizen of the state declared that, “we have responsibility to justify the confidence reposed in us by reversing this unfortunate trend through the provision of an efficient and effective health care system to the citizenry, hence, our effort to squarely address the maternal and child health care services”.
Speaking further, the governor said, “in our effort to reduce the high infant and maternal morbidity and mortality rate in the state, we have already launched free maternal and child health care services at state and local government levels where the sum of N100 million has been spent already”, stating that his administration had launched the National Health Insurance Scheme in order to improve accessibility to health care services particularly by the civil servants whose 15 per cent contribution to the scheme, amounting to N45 million, had been paid by the government.
To ensure sustainable grass roots measures to address the maternal and child morbidity and mortality rates, government has recently conducted a summit on maternal and child health with special programmes that will further see to the elimination of serious life threatening diseases among pregnant mothers and children such as malaria during pregnancy, and common worms’ infestation.
The governor also went on to recount the achievements recorded in the area of health care delivery which, according to him, “on the wider sphere of health care delivery, far reaching achievements have been recorded since our assumption of office about a year ago. Some of these achievements include the renovation of hospitals at Ningi, Toro and Jama’are, establishment of a new water system and purchase of new generators”.
Others are the relocation of hospitals at Kafin-Madaki, Katagum and Tafawa Balewa to more suitable locations; completion of general hospitals at Azare, Bogoro, Giade and Dambam, all of which would be commissioned soon; provision of free health care for nursing mothers and children less than five years of age; continued training and retraining of health care providers to improve efficiency, the payment of enhanced salary package to health workers to encourage and motivate them; recruitment of 30 Egyptian doctors; ensuring continuous supply of efficacious drugs through the Drug Revolving Fund/Essential Drugs Programme under a Private Public Partnership (PPP) with Neimeth and procurement of 30 new ambulances for general hospitals.
Governor Yuguda stated that his administration had given a serious thought to the establishment of a Teaching Hospital in the state, adding that a committee had been set up to advise the government appropriately. The administration is also considering establishing a standard Eye Hospital in partnership with Messrs Albasar International Foundation. According to him, machinery has been set in motion for the take-off of the eye hospital within the next three months.
He commended Neimeth International for undertaking to produce customised drugs to sustain the roll back malaria and safe motherhood programmes and urged the company to leave no stone unturned in achieving success for the overall benefit of the people of the state and ensure effective and efficient health care system.
Earlier, the chairman, State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Musa Mohammed Dambam, stated that inaccessibility to quality health care has been identified as a major cause of high mortality rate, adding that as a way of reversing the ugly trend, the state government decided to increase accessibility, affordability and quality of health care.
Dambam also stated that within the last three years, the present administration had recorded a lot of success and the greatest had been the introduction of free medical care for pregnant women and children under five years, expressing optimism that the laudable programme had since been launched in the state and local government levels, and the impact of the programme would go a long way to improve the health condition of the people.
The chairman, however, said that his agency was aware that doctors and other health workers often referred patients to their private clinics while pharmacists engaged in sharp practices by selling government drugs, warning that anybody caught engaging in such unethical practice capable of derailing government’s programme would be severely dealt with.
“The present administration has put in place measures to improve the health sector and it is hoped that the operators would work hard to justify government’s huge investment in the health sector of the state because without their cooperation, the free medical services would amount to nothing and the purpose would also be defeated. This is why the cooperation of all stakeholders in the sector is important for the success of the free medical care. With the introduction of the free medical care for women, it is expected that the high rate of maternal mortality for which the state is noted would be reversed in the years ahead,” he said.
To prove its seriousness the Bauchi State Government has formally handed over the Bauchi Specialist Hospital to the Federal Government to be converted to a teaching hospital with a promise to construct a new Specialist Hospital in Bauchi to cater for the secondary health needs of the people.
The handing over ceremony took place early this year at the Reynar Centre of the hospital between the State Governor, Isa Yuguda, and the then Minister of Health, Professor Babatunde Oshotimehin, on behalf of the Federal Government.
At the handing over of the multibillion naira edifice to the minister, Governor Yuguda had disclosed that his administration agreed to hand over the hospital in order to promote the provision of tertiary health care in the North-East sub-region which hitherto, had only the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital which he said was grossly inadequate for the needs of the people of the area.
The Chief Medical Director of the ATBU Teaching Hospital, Dr. Alkali Mohammed, while speaking to newsmen recently, said that following the intervention of the Bauchi State government in revitalising the health sector, the delivery rate by pregnant women had increased to 300 per ent at Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital, Bauchi.
Dr Mohammed said, due to the free medical treatment introduced by the state government, attendant of patients have tremendously increased, especially among pregnant women and children under five years of age.Share