Akwa Ibom Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Management Sciences for Health, MSH, has granted license to 98 Traditional Birth Attendants, TBAs, to carry out traditional child delivery in the state.
Presenting licenses and certificates to the trained TBAs yesterday in Uyo, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, emphasised that the TBAs remained important players in maternal and health services in communities of the state.
Ukpong said that the training given the TBAs was aimed at improving maternal and neonatal child health and increasing uptake of Prevention Of Mother To Child Transmission, PMTCT, of HIV.
“The role of traditional and faith-based birth attendants in the provision of maternal health services in our local communities cannot be denied due to their being easily accessible and having the high level of trust that pregnant women place in them.
“Also, the persistent huge gap between women that attend Anti Natal Care (ANC) and the number of women that eventually deliver at public health facilities with skilled birth attendants, particularly, the HIV positive pregnant women, reinforce the evidence of the huge patronage of Traditional and Faith Based Attendants” the commissioner said.
While congratulating the TBAs for their commitment towards the training programme, the commissioner urged them to upgrade their birth delivery sites in accordance to set standards and criteria in the policy guidelines.
He also implored them to always ensure that records of births and deaths during deliveries are recorded as at when due and appropriately.
In an address, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Comfort Archibong further stressed the need for training, saying:
“Deliveries by TBAs have been tainted with the use of unsterilised tools, unskilled personnel, poor environmental conditions, and little or no knowledge of PMTCT, thereby contributing to high rate of maternal and infant mortality and mother to child transmission of HIV.”
But she warned that women who do not deliver in public health facilities, risk contracting HIV virus.
Speaking during the presentation of the overview of the TBA engagement programme, Deputy Director of Leadership Management and Governance Project, LMG, Funmi Esan said that the TBAs were trained in three pilot local governments of Etinan, Eket and Ikot Ekpene.
Their training, Esan explained, were carried out in two phases within six weeks with trainers drawn from government health institutions in the state.

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