Worried by the high maternal mortality rate in Cross River, Development Options, DO, a Calabar based Non-governmental organisation has embarked on the training of Traditional Birth Attendants in Calabar and its environ.
The project, funded by the Cross River State Agency for the control of Aids (SACA) with assistance from the World Bank is reportedly aimed at reducing maternal mortality in the state to the barest minimum.
The Programme Manager, Miss. Ukeme Ekong disclosed that Development Options embarked on advocacy programmes to encourage women especially in rural communities’ access health facilities during pregnancy.
She disclosed that Traditional Birth Attendants have also been trained on the need to encourage pregnant women that patronize them to always access health facilities for proper medical care.According to her, ‘our target is to reach out to about 5,000 women with necessary information on the need to access health facilities for anti-natal care even while patronizing Traditional Birth Attendants.’
Ekong further disclosed that ‘Development Option is also working on social behavioral change and prevention of mother to child of HIV by pregnant women under our maternal and child health project.’
The Programme Manager noted that the organization has also trained peer educators and women leaders in various communities in Calabar, resulting in improved relationship between Traditional Birth Attendants and health care service providers.
“There has been a shift in attitude, as Traditional Birth Attendants we work with do not accept or admit pregnant women that do not register with a health facility.”
Ekong also noted that the ‘Traditional Birth Attendants have been trained to see health workers as partners and not threat to their businesses.’
She however listed the deplorable state of most health facilities and poor response by pregnant women as some of the challenges faced by the organization.

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