Efforts to curb maternal mortality rate (MMR) has received a boost from the wife of Lagos State governor, Mrs Bolanle Ambode.
Mrs Ambode, who is also the Chairman, Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials, (COWLSO), has commissioned an ultra-modern Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Lagos Island Maternity and donated Hearing Screening equipment to four general hospitals in the state to detect hearing defect in newborn.
She gave the assurance that they would continue to support and complement government’s efforts to end maternal and child mortality in the state.
Speaking at the commissioning, Mrs. Ambode said that the donation for the year 2017 was in realization of the committee’s cardinal objective aimed at improving people’s welfare.
She said, “The project was the focus of COWLSO’s health intervention for this year, along with neo-natal hearing screening equipment donated to Gbagada General Hospital, Ikorodu General Hospital, Badagry General Hospital and Ifako-Ijaiye General Hospital, all in Lagos State.”
She noted that late referral of emergency delivery cases from traditional birth attendants and faith-based homes to government’s health facilities had become a major challenge, requiring the services of an ICU, to save endangered mothers and their babies.
She said: “Now and then, we hear of many pregnant women and their babies dying of conditions such as pregnancy-induced hypertension, convulsion or shock arising from post-delivery bleeding. A good number of such cases come in extreme conditions, which without the existence of a well-equipped intensive care unit, death seems inevitable for the mother, baby or both’.
“Here lies the wisdom in COWLSO’s intervention in upgrading and strengthening the existing High Dependency Unit, to an ultra-modern Intensive Care Unit, to cope with increased number and complexity of emergency cases.”
According to her, such support therefore has the potential to save mothers and babies, as well as ease financial pressure on families that may need the services.
“COWLSO in the present dispensation is fully committed to safe Motherhood Project and partnering the health facilities to ensure that no life is lost in pregnancy and during delivery,” she said.
The ICU commissioned is equipped with state-of-the-art modern facilities such as humidifier, multi parameter monitors, portable multi parameter monitor and volumetric infusion pump. Others are portable suction unit, blood fluid/warmer, automatic external defibrillator, marquet servo air intensive care ventilators, ICU Beds, pressure relief mattress and pump among others.
The COWLSO chairman said that the committee also decided to consolidate on its last year’s Ear, Nose and Throat intervention, by targeting the preventive aspect of hearing impairment. She disclosed that neo-natal hearing screening equipment were procured for those general hospitals, to enable early screening of newborns for possible hearing defects.
She said: “According to the World Health Organization, sixty per cent of childhood hearing loss is preventable, hence, our continuous intervention. The consequences of not addressing hearing loss in children include difficulty in speech acquisition, delayed language development, academic under achievement, social isolation, higher risk injuries and increased poverty.”
Brimming with joy at the realization of the project, Mrs. Ambode commended the cooperation and support of COWLSO members, the health institutions and equipment suppliers, while urging expectant mothers to always use ante-natal services for smooth baby delivery.
Also speaking at the event, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, said that the choice of Island Maternity was the best as the baby factory of Africa recording about 400 deliveries every month.
He promised that professional update courses would be provided to run the unit, adding that the state’s Strategic Health Development Plan envisioned the phased creation of zonal High Dependency Units, to serve emergency obstetric cases.
According to Idris, the revamping of the Audiology Unit of the ENT Clinic at the General Hospital Lagos, last year by COWLSO, has had tremendous positive impact on residents with hearing impairment from cradle to adults.
He commended the committee for the noble gesture, calling on well-meaning individuals and groups to emulate them by partnering the government in the mission to provide quality health care services to the citizenry.
In his speech, the Chairman of the Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Health, Hon. Segun Olulade, showered praises on COWLSO, for complementing the efforts of the government, to achieve new levels of healthcare delivery for Lagosians.
He said: “I must confess that COWLSO has introduced a new dimension to humanitarian service. I can still remember when the committee donated the first state-of-the-art Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) equipment to the General Hospital Odan and conducted major goiter surgery for over 30 adults.”
He implored expectant mothers to take full advantage of the facilities and urged health workers to handle them with care.
Responding on behalf of the General Hospitals that received the hearing screening equipment, the Medical Director of Ikorodu General Hospital, Dr. Bankole Olufunmilayo, praised COWLSO and the governor’s wife for the intervention. She stressed that the instruments would enable the benefiting hospitals screen the newborns for possible hearing defects.
Many of those at the event who spoke with our Correspondent commended the gesture of the Lagos First Lady and her team while urging them to keep giving such support towards reducing the sufferings of the less-privileged.