By Ruth Oginyi
To reduce the maternal mortality rate in Ebonyi, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded program Integrated Health Program (IHP), said it has initiated
an active process of tracking pregnant women in the Ebonyi state to ensure that they give birth in government-approved health facilities.
This was revealed by IHP State Director, Dr. Gladys Olisaekee during a media engagement of journalists held in Afikpo, Ebonyi state southeast Nigeria.
The program is aimed at promoting USAID IHP intervention areas and change of attitude and behavior of the audience for achieving better health and deepening the understanding, and improving media coverage of health issues in the state.
The USAID IHP said it has found out in the state that many women do not attend ante-natal cares in government-approved or recognized health facilities but patronize quacks and Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) to give birth to their babies which causes maternal and child morbidity and mortality in the state.
Correspondent reports that the program was organized by the organization in collaboration with the state ministry of health.
According to Dr. Gladys, over 800 health workers have been trained in the state by the IHP with support from the state ministry of health.
Adding that they have equipped 212 health facilities with maternal health, child health, and family planning equipment in the state.
“IHP Ebonyi is a USAID funded project to contribute to the state-level reduction of maternal and child morbidity and mortality as well as strengthening sustainable and provision of quality PHC services.
“It has three objectives; to strengthen Primary Healthcare Services, to improve access to PHC services, and to improve the quality of PHC services.
“We are working closely with the state ministry of Health, Ebonyi state Primary Health care Development Agency, Ebonyi state Health Insurance Agency to implement a wide range of three health interventions to improve the health of pregnant women and under-five children.
“We have successfully supported the state to complete training of healthcare workers, over 800 on reproductive health family planning including an introduction to GBV.
“We have also introduced active defaulter tracking of pregnant women. We know that several pregnant women attend ante-natal services but do not return to health facilities to deliver. They go to other sides like Traditional Birth Attendants(TBAs). So, we are supporting the Primary health care where we work to institutional active tracking of pregnant that attend ante-natal health services in the Primary health care routinely”, she stated.