The United States has called on the Federal Government to train traditional birth attendants as community mobilisers for women on health issues.
The team leader of United States Agency for International Development (Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health), Vathani Amirthanayagam, said this in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja during the presentation of the report by Pathfinders International (Nigeria) of the implementation on Saving Mothers, Giving Life Initiative in Cross River State.
The Country Director of Pathfinders International (Nigeria), Dr Farouk Jega, said the report revealed that hospital-based maternal mortality ratio had been reduced by 66 per cent, while early neonatal rate had dropped by 37 per cent.
According to him, South-South states, especially the riverine areas, operate the highest level of births outside health facilities in Nigeria.
Amirthanayagam said the TBAs should be trained in current protocols about births and the use of health facilities.
She said, “They should be used as community mobilisers and allowed to get access to women; they should be allowed to take women to the facilities. They have a role, maybe the way they have learnt in giving birth is not helpful to women when they get into complications.
“We should use them as traditional health workers to identify women and refer them to facilities that have all the things needed if there are complications.”
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, A. M. Abdullahi, represented by the Director of Reproductive Health, Dr Kayode Afolabi, said “maternal mortality is a major public health emergency.”