BY SUNNY A. DAVID

No fewer than 20 women have died from pregnancy-related complications in Anambra State from January to June this year.As a consequence, a consultant community physician of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, Anambra State, Dr. Chinomnso Nnebu, has advised women to stop patronising prayer houses for antenatal care.The consultant lamented that many pregnant women in the state would prefer going to deliver their babies at faith-based organisations to going to hospitals.He made the disclosure at a maternal mortality review meeting on Tuesday, in Awka, the Anambra State capital.Attributing the practice to one of the causes of maternal mortality in the state, the consultant said, “Some faith-based 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.”Speaking, the state’s reproductive health coordinator, Dr. Obianuju Okoye, said the state has recorded 20 maternal deaths from nine healthcare facilities across the 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, adding, “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.”In his own contribution, the head of the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at NAUTH, Dr. George Eleje, urged pregnant women to register early for antenatal care to prevent complications and maternal death.According to him, antenatal care would make pregnancy safe and help the woman to be prepared for uneventful labour and also for a good pregnancy outcome.In his remarks, Dr. Afam Obidike, the state’s commissioner for health, said the meeting was to review causes of maternal death in the state and proffer solutions to put an end to the trend.He described maternal mortality or pregnancy-related death as the death of a woman during pregnancy or within one year of pregnancy.Commissioner Obidike said the Governor Chukwuma Soludo-led administration was adopting a holistic approach in order 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 goes to primary healthcare centres, and when things become difficult, there is nowhere 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 the maternal mortality rate as much as possible in the state,” Obidike stated.

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