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C/River to integrate traditional birth attendants into its health care

Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River State
Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River State

Determined to stem the rate of infant and maternal mortality rate in the state, Cross River State Government has concluded plans to integrate traditional birth attendants (TBAs) into its healthcare delivery system, given their strategic role in the society.
Director-General, Cross River State Primary Health Care Delivery Agency, Dr. Beta Edu, who disclosed this to news men in Calabar, maintained that the role of TBAs in infant and maternal health care cannot be overemphasize because people have so much confidence in their services, hence they must be trained and fully integrated in the healthcare delivery chain.
“We have commenced the necessary training programme for all TBAs, basically to educate them on their new roles in the state which is purely referrals to patients from their communities to our health facility in their respective areas.”
According to Edu, “We don’t want our women to be delivered by unskilled birth attendants who may not be able to dictate when complications arise during child birth that may lead to death of either the mother or the child, that is why we must streamline their roles and save lives of the citizenry.”
Edu pointed out that “with the collaboration of relevant stakeholders in the state including development partners, Cross River State Government has introduced the Traditional Birth Attendants Operational Guideline that will regulate and checkmate their activities in the state as implementation of the new policy will soon commence.”
She noted that after six months of intensive training of the affected practitioners, only those who will scale through the exercise will be allowed to continue their new roles while others will be disengaged and given alternative source of livelihood, stressing that it was one of the measures adopted to sanitize the health sector in the state.
According to Edu, “the state government in collaboration with donor partners is working out modalities for a seed grant that will be given to the unskilled TBAs after being trained in vocational field of their choice.”
The DG further disclosed that her agency was currently embarking on personnel audit and screening of all categories of staff, to eliminate quackery, and that after the exercise in the Southern Senatorial District of the state, over 1000 ghost workers were discovered, with others practicing with fake certificates.
Offering insight into why Ayade Care is yet to take off in the state, Dr. Beta explained that, “Operational guidelines for the new health insurance law, “Ayade Care” would soon be out to kick start the implementation of the new policy.”
She added that “because government is dependant on the public health facilities to deliver on the Ayade Care, we are working assiduously to ensure comprehensive renovation and equipping of these facilities across the state alongside training of officers to ensure smooth implementation of the policy.”
On the free health care to children under five years and pregnant women which has not been very effective since the advent of the present administration, the DG averred: “Our free health care delivery policy to pregnant women and children under the age of 5 is still in force and it is illegal for anyone to collect money from these categories of persons in our health facilities.
“In addition, the Ayade care is taking it a step further to include children under 18 years of age. By implication, any child below 18 years are supposed to pay the mandatory 1000 premium for Ayade Care but he/she is entitled to access health care in all our facilities anywhere they find themselves,” she hinted.

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