By Kazeem Ugbodaga
In a bid to stem maternal mortality rate, the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Official, COWLSO, has donated an Intensive Care Unit, ICU to the Lagos Island Maternity Hospital and Neo-natal hearing screening equipment to four General Hospitals in the state.
The General Hospitals are Gbagada, Ifako-Ijaiye, Ikorodu and Badagry. The equipment were donated on Wednesday at the officials commissioning of the ICU at the Lagos Island Maternity Hospital on Lagos Island, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
Speaking at the event, wife of the Lagos State Governor and chairman, COWLSO, Bolanle Ambode said the ICU upgrading was one of the major health interventions of the body this year.
According to her, as the drive to combat maternal mortality rate in the state continued to record tangible progress, there was the need to tackle un-booked ante-natal cases, which had become a major challenge in baby delivery process.
“A good number of such cases come in extreme conditions, which without the existence of a well-equipped ICU, death seems inevitable for the mother, baby or both. Now and then, we hear of many pregnant women and their babies dying of conditions such as pregnancy-induced hypertension, convulsion or shock arising from post-delivery bleeding.
“A high number of such bad cases are referred from traditional birth attendants and faith-based homes. After effecting deliveries, subsequent proper care requiring intensive care, is always lacking,” she said.
Mrs Ambode stated that until government’s advocacy of regular attendance of ante-natal care services is heeded by expectant mothers and that until there was early referral from TBAs, faith-based organissations and primary healthcare centres, an ICU would always be needed to save more lives.
She said this was what informed COWLSO’s intervention in upgrading and strengthening the existing High Dependency Unit to an ultra-modern ICU to cope with increased number and complexity of emergency cases, adding that “we also recognize the fact that until the State’s Health Insurance Scheme becomes fully operational, affording ICU services may remain a challenge for most people.”
Speaking on other areas of intervention by COWLSO, Mrs Ambode stressed that prevention of hearing impairment had become paramount, saying that in this wise, four OTOREAD OAE audiological instruments, capable of detecting hearing loss in children, had been procured; while 12 relevant workers had equally been trained to handle the equipment.
She said the consequences of not addressing hearing loss in children included difficulty in speech acquisition, delayed language development, academic under-achievement, social isolation, high risk injuries and increased poverty.
Speaking, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, said since the inception of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration, the choice of Lagos Island Maternity Hospital as a beneficiary for targeted interventions by COWLSO had been very apt, given the health facility’s current position as the apex referral public facility for obstetric cases.
He emphasized that the government of the day maintained zero tolerance for maternal mortality and that as such, women in the state should not die needlessly in the course of giving life.
“The hospital records 350 to 400 deliveries monthly, a significant proportion, as high as 90 percent of which are un-booked emergencies. Even among this high-risk group, maternal mortality should be reduced by our continued multi-pronged approach,” Idris said.
Chairman, Committee on Health Services, Lagos State House of Assembly, Olusegun Olulade, said he was honoured and impressed with COWLSO.
He said they had taken a new dimension in terms of service delivery to residents of Lagos, adding that it was of note that COWLSO had been complementing the efforts of the State government in catering for the welfare of citizens.