Welcome to the maiden edition of Social Works Watch™.
Today we will be opening a discussion on MATERNITY PRACTICES IN GOVERNMENT HOSPITALS IN LAGOS STATE. Please follow us closely. Your responses are very important to us.
We once wrote a letter to two of the leading maternity government hospitals in Lagos State, Island Maternity Hospital and Ayinke House, having received legion of reports, which are not too favourable. The letter stated among other things:
Presently, we are doing a finding on maternity practices in Government Hospitals in Lagos State and we discovered that pregnant women who register for antenatal care with Ayinke House experience the following:
- As a prerequisite for registration the spouses of pregnant women are compel to either deposit a pint of blood or pay a certain amount usually between N5,000.00 and N6,000.00 in lieu a pint of blood;
- Pregnant women spend a whole day at ante-natal session, often times they had to get there as early 6.00AM to ensure being attended to by medical personnel;
- The unruly attitude of Para-medical personnel toward pregnant women during antenatal, labour periods and post natal;
- Nonchalant attitudes of staff toward pregnant women during antenatal, labour periods and postnatal.
We are about to go to the press with our findings, but in the spirit of fair hearing, we want to find out from your good office the basis for the above-mentioned.
Though, we followed up, we did not get a meaningful responses to our letter.
Please note that this is an on-going process. We will bring you more reports on this important subject. It is no longer news that Nigeria has one of the highest maternal deaths in the world. Beside, according to a report by UNICEF, ‘every single day, Nigeria loses about 2,300 under-five year olds and 145 women of childbearing age. This makes the country the second largest contributor to the under–five and maternal mortality rate in the world…The deaths of newborn babies in Nigeria represent a quarter of the total number of deaths of children under-five. The majority of these occur within the first week of life, mainly due to complications during pregnancy and delivery reflecting the intimate link between newborn survival and the quality of maternal care.’
The last phrase, ‘quality of maternal care’ catches our attention and for some weeks to come we will beam our searchlight at the level of Social Works Watch™ on this area. We want to ascertain if there is best practice in the quality of maternal care, particularly in Lagos State. Please note that it is important to do this report because majority of pregnant women in Nigeria cannot afford private hospital. They move between Government Hospitals and Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs). We discourage TBAs. But the people may be tempted to resort to them despite their inadequacies if the Government Hospital do not provide quality maternity services to the teeming majority of our people.
Permit us today to share with you the story of a woman, Ibijoke Rachael, who was delivered of a baby at Island Maternity Hospital:
I leave my home (Ojodu) at 5:30pm in the morning to be able to make my antenatal session in Island maternity Lagos Island. Usually I get there about 6:45am and I may be number 45 on the queue.
Taking of vital signs commences around 7:00am. A total of about 120 expectant mothers are present for this exercise every Monday morning. N40.00 is paid at the vital sign stand every week and a N100.00 at the desk before files are retrieved. This is a total of N140.00 per week asides from other medications that may be prescribed.
Registration fee for antenatal session is N5, 000:00, after which the spouse of the expectant mother is told to donate one pint of blood or pay N6, 000:00 which is compulsory.
After vital signs have been taken, we usually wait for doctors to arrive as they are not always readily available.
When the doctors start attending to us they are usually impatient as they in a hurry to be done with us all. Most times student doctors attend to us without proper supervision. Due to this fact, a lot of wrong information
, is given to the patients. , on a particular antenatal day, one of the student doctors told me after me that my baby was not breathing; he repeated the test several times and still insisted on the same report. I didn’t agree with him. I told him, I could feel my baby kicking. So a senior doctor later examined me and said my baby was alive and kicking. the student doctor did not carry out a proper examination. I wonder what would have happened if I had been naïve enough to believe him. I believe that even the panic that could be created by the report that my baby has stoped breathing could lead to a medical condition.
Few weeks to my delivery, I experienced some pain in my abdomen all night. I decided to go the hospital to see the doctor the next day. On getting to the card attendant, she asked why I wanted to see the doctor and I told her, and she said why should I came to disturb them over abdominal pains. I got upset and gave her a piece of my mind. Generally the
are very rude and impatient in their disposition to patients.
On 22nd of September, my Monday antenatal day, I complained to the doctor that I had pains in my abdomen and he said my pregnancy was already over 9 months, and my baby’s head is already down, but to my greatest surprise he told me to go back home, which I did.
The pain was unbearable all through the night, so I returned to the hospital first thing the next morning. On getting the hospital the
said it was time to have my baby after paying another sum of money.
I was admitted and went into labour for 7hrs after which I had my baby around 3:15pm who was 3.8kg at birth I had some tears due to the size of my baby and was moved to an inner room to be
. I overheard the nurse saying that the doctor who was to me and he was there for a while trying to do it. After he said the tear was too deep and he could not handle it. He advised I should hold on for him to get another doctor and he then left the room. I later found out that he was a student doctor. After waiting for several hours without being attended to, I decided to shout with the little strength left in me as I was already drenched in a pool of my own blood. As I shouted as much as I could, one of the cleaners came in. I begged her to help me call a doctor. Before she left to run the errand, she requested from me beverages. I told her to take it and that she should just help me. I wonder why she should be interested in my beverages before running an official errand for me despite my state.
At about 7:00pm a consultant doctor came in and was alarmed at my state. He asked me a few questions about who had attended to me. When he realized that I couldn’t answer from being worn out, he gave me an injection and I slept off immediately and woke up around 10:00pm. On waking up, I demanded to see my baby, who I had not touched since delivery, but was stopped by the nurses and even insulted. They were not also explaining to me why I could not see my baby. I suspected that they felt I was too weak to carry her. I complained of pains in my leg but was told there was no paracetamol.
When I later saw my baby, she was said to have been diagnosed with jaundice and she had to be put in an incubator. I found that she was in an incubator with another child, who had rashes all over his body. I complained about this and the nurses told me that they had shortage of incubators and there was nothing they could do. Being my first child, I did not know that if I put baby oil on the head of my child, I should not put her in the incubator. That was exactly what I did. By the time I went back to check her, the oil had been heated by the incubation and it was flowing slowly to her eyes. I quickly called a nurse and removed the child from the incubator to clean the baby oil. The response of the nurse was as interesting as it was callous. She said sarcastically, ‘you should not have removed the child now. The oil will only flow into her eyes and she will just go blind.’
There were inadequate nurses caring for the babies. I witnessed the case of a baby, who died because the incubator was off all through the night and the nurses did not know.
I thank God that I left the hospital safely with my baby. It was by His mercies that we were no consumed.
Thank you for joining us today. We will continue next week. Please send your experiences and responses.
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