Akwa Ibom Commissioner for Health, Dr Emem Bassey, has disclosed that more than 70 per cent of pregnant women in the state patronise unskilled Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) during delivery.
Bassey who said this, Thursday, in Uyo while inaugurating a Technical Working Committee to develop a framework for integrating the activities of TBAs into the healthcare system in the state, noted that the integration of the TBAs into the healthcare system would boost Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS (PMTCT) during pregnancy and reduce infant mortality.
He said that the pregnant women who attend ante-natal at least once during pregnancy still subsequently go to patronise the unskilled TBAs, hence the need to integrate the TBAs operations.
Bassey charged the committee to evolve policy frame work that would coordinate, regulate, train, license and monitor the operations of TBAs for maximum benefit for our health system.
He urged the committee to dialogue with all stakeholders on how to engage the TBAs for improved maternal and child health services as well as increased uptake of PMTCT services.
The commissioner also advised the committee to develop standard operating procedures and training curriculum to facilitate integration of TBAs activities into the state healthcare delivery.
Bassey called for development of modalities for cooperation between the TBAs and Primary Healthcare facilities in the communities.
He disclosed that the modalities developed by the committee would form parts of the draft Health System Bill for the state.
“Your task is enormous, I believe that with the calibre of members, the committee would deliver a well drafted work plan for TBAs integration,” Bassey said.
Membership of the committee was drawn from the ministries of local government and health, development partners as well as hospitals management board.