Chief Consultant Gynaecologist of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Bayelsa State, Dr. Andrew Igbafe, has expressed concern over the increasing cases of death among pregnant women due to complications, saying that eight deaths were recorded in the last six months in the state.
Dr Igbafe explained that the high maternal mortality rate is due to wrong cultural and religious beliefs that health care during pregnancy can only be provided by traditional birth attendants and herbal homes.
Speaking in the state capital, Yenagoa, at a lecture organised by the Eshama Education and Research Centre with title “Safe Motherhood in Bayelsa”, Igbafe noted that death during childbirth is a result of ignorance and unwholesome practices rooted in tradition and culture.
He told the audience of pregnant women, experts and journalists that complications during pregnancy is an abnormal occurrence that does not respect age and status of women.
He said deaths recorded in Bayelsa State have shown that ignorant adoption of traditional practices have stopped women from receiving ante and post natal care in hospitals.
According to him, “the death of women due to childbearing is a tragedy, which can be catastrophic to the family and the state.
“Majority of the deaths occur where strong traditional customs and beliefs promote cultural practices that significantly increase the risk of pregnancy related deaths.
“Due to such cultural, traditional and religious beliefs, the decision to seek health care is left in the hands of the husbands or other family members.”
He therefore advised that “the key to reducing maternal mortality is to educate the community to understand the risks and danger signs of pregnancy, and to mobilise them to seek appropriate and prompt child care.
“Let it be known that the excuses that it is due to poverty and lack of money to access health facilities is wrong. Many of those involved are working class families.”
In his speech at the occasion, Chairman of the Southern Ijaw Local
Government Council Area, Remember Ogbe, called for greater synergy between the leadership of existing local government councils in the state in the campaign against harmful practices to reduce death of women during childbirth