The Bayelsa State Government on Tuesday urged nurses and doctors in private and public hospitals to change their attitudes towards their patients to enable them save lives.
The Deputy Governor of the state, Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd.), made the appeal in Yenagoa, the state capital, during a meeting between the government and Christian leaders in the state.
Jonah lamented that the way some medical experts treat their patients compelled many people to seek other means of attending to their health instead of going to hospitals.
He said there was an urgent need for them to change their attitude for the good of the health care system in the state.
Speaking on the meeting with Christian leaders, Jonah said that religious leaders were critical stakeholders adding that churches were found in every nooks and crannies of communities.
Speaking on the occasion, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said that through the sensitisation effort of the government, the message of safe motherhood and childhood would get to every parrt of the state.
Iworiso-Markson: “Through this programme, we are sending everyone to our communities. You know, in our communities, we have churches there and because of the church the people there can be reached.
“Pastors play a very critical role; the church plays a very critical role in reaching these people, in reaching our women, so that they can discard those old practices, those traditional and religious practices that they have held on for so long where people take delight in giving birth at home rather than go to the hospital to give birth.
“Now, government is saying that the hospital is free, we are providing everything free for you, doctors there will cater for you. That is why I gave a remark that we must commend his Excellency, Governor Seriake Dickson, for the support, particularly by ensuring that the 105 wards scattered all over the states have healthcare facilities provided there.”
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He said that the government had not discarded the services of the traditional birth attendants but had embarked on training them to meet up with contemporary practices in health care delivery.
He added. “It’s okay these are the things that our people are used to over the years but government is making it possible for them to be trained so that all those in involved in the TBAs are going to be trained. They too are going to go through the kind of orientation that we are giving right now.
“Where there are complications, don’t hesitate to refer them to hospitals to refer them to doctors who can now provide extra medical care. So that’s the point we are making, so we are not discarding the TBAs, we are only saying that they do it the right way.
“They must harmonize with the government and at any point in time where there are complications they should feel free to call the doctors to come in and as a government we are ready to do that.”
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu, said the government partnered Christian leaders because of their influence.
He noted that with their collaboration, some of the Christian leaders, particularly pastors, would know their limitation and the functions of medical practitioners.
On grants to pregnant women in the state, the health commissioner said that pregnant women captured would benefit from the grant.
He said: “What I want you to take home is that once a woman is captured, she is assured of the money. Once she has been registered, the biometric is taken, she is assured of the money.
“It doesn’t matter at what time the money is realeased, the most important thing is let them all register, once they register the money is assured and they will get it.”
In his remarks, the Special Adviser to Governor of Religious Matters, Samuel Peters, said the church is to carry the message of safe motherhood back to their members.
He said: “Bayelsa State is over 97 per cent Christians and in one way or the other they attend church and they get the message and our people respond to what they hear from the pulpit.
“And if the government put it on the table that this is what we want and the church takes it back to the people it will have more effect. In fact, some people believe more in what their pastor say than what the government is saying.
“And when the pastors key into good policies of the government, we will have a better, healthier and more fruitful society and in this case the government is saying we don’t want to see any mother or woman die in the course of giving birth and we are pastors in the state our duty is to take it back to our people.”