The Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Thursday, presented certificates of participation in an orientation course to 400 Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs).
Speaking at the ceremony held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa Secretariat, Ambode expressed optimism that they would contribute to the state governments effort to reduce maternal mortality rate.
He also said that one of the cardinal points of his administration was to make traditional birth attendants a relevant factor in childcare delivery, which explained an urgent need to improve upon the skill of the traditional health attendants.
He said that Lagos already had a functional Traditional Medicine Board with strategic programmes that were targeted at regulating, monitoring, promoting and integrating traditional medicine into health policy based on the Alma Alta Declaration of the WHO 1978.
He said the intention of his administration was geared towards streamlining traditional medicine, so as to change the perception of traditional medicine as a religious and spirit-magical practice by virtue of their proximity and accessibility to the rural dwellers.
Traditional Birth Attendants are part of the birthing process all over the world. They remain the preferred service providers for delivery in rural communities over the formal health facilities. They are usually self-taught or informally trained.
Pregnancy, which should be a thing of joy is now seen as death warrant for most women due to the weak Primary Health Care system. Despite the provision of health services through Primary Health Centres, many still patronise Traditional Birth Attendants. This shows the level of trust people repose in them and, of course, their relevance in Primary Healthcare delivery, he said.
He said the training of the TBAs covered several areas including protecting the health of mothers and babies, care of women during pregnancy and childbirth, treatment of complications due to miscarriage and or unsafe abortion, pre-pregnancy advice and health education, care of new born, among others.
Ambode said his administration would continue to do all within its powers to take traditional medicine to a higher level, through innovative research and development, just as he assured that government would continue to strengthen its efforts in the areas of regulation, training, co-ordination, monitoring and supervision of practice of traditional medicine towards effective integration with orthodox medicine.
He, however, urged the TBAs to discharge their duties professionally according to the ethics guiding their calling, urging them to continue to improve upon their practice through continued education and scientific development.
He also restated the commitment of his administration to provide efficient healthcare to all Lagosians, at all levels by ensuring that the General Hospitals and Primary Healthcare Centres were well equipped and fully operational.
We have recently signed off on the ultra-modern, world class medical park, which would ensure our citizens no longer had to seek medical care abroad. Our own specialised baby home, the Ayinke House Maternity, is being upgraded and rehabilitated and I have been assured that the project will be delivered by the end of this year, he said.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr. Olufemi Onanuga, said the government was committed to giving residents the best, as far as healthcare delivery was concerned, adding that the Ambodes passion about the people of the state was responsible for his resolve to ensure access to quality and affordable health care delivery.