Kano — The National Primary Health Care Development Authority (NPHCDA) has commenced training of community health extension workers on essential maternal and neonatal health care services with a view to bringing a stop to high rate of maternal mortality prevalent in the country.
Speaking at a workshop organised by the NPHCDA for the relevant health workers in Kano recently, the zonal coordinator of the agency in charge of the northh-west, Dr Abdullahi Bulama Garba disclosed that the programme was borne out of the NPHCDA's desire to equip health workers with basic life-saving skills, which they could use on pregnant women before referral to appropriate personnel.
According to him, the 6-day training which would go side by side with practical sessions for the trainee-health workers would equip the participants with midwifery skills that they could use to save the lives of pregnant women to reduce avoidable cases of maternal mortality.
Garba noted that inadequacy of midwives and other professional birth attendants necessitated the need to give the health extension workers some level of training that would enable them to act as birth attendants as well as offer some support to pregnant women, especially at remote primary health centres.
The NPHCDA zonal coordinator lamented that the acute shortage of midwives in primary health care centres often made access to basic care a difficult task as patients have to be transported to distant health centres despite the risk associated with it.
According to him, the agency wants to ensure equity through even siting of health facilities across the country in order to bring health care closer to the people. He said those trained would be posted to remote health care facilities to help balance the trend.
"We in Nigeria are even lucky that we have some trained personnel like the health extension workers who can be given a short term training to be able to serve as midwives. In some countries such as Angola and Pakistan, as we have seen, it's secondary school leavers that are drawn to fill in the vacuum," Dr Garba stated.