Advancing Maternal Health During COVID-19
One of the critical ways to prevent and reduce the overall maternal mortality rates amongst communities in Nigeria is utilizing skilled birth attendants.
In many rural areas in Nigeria, pregnant women prefer to deliver their babies at home with the assistance of Community Birth Attendants (CBAs).
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines a traditional birth attendant as “a person who assists the mother during childbirth and initially acquired her skills by delivering babies herself or through apprenticeship to other traditional birth attendants”. With the vital role that Community Birth Attendants play in providing maternal health services, they need to have adequate information, tools and practice in maternal health, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
HACEY Health Initiative thus launched the CBA COVID-19 response program. The program was implemented to ease the difficulty of community birth attendants in underserved communities in Ogun State by providing them with adequate information, hygiene materials and training to reduce the risk of contracting the virus and ensuring client safety while providing maternal health services. During the program, 200 Community birth attendants were engaged, and 200 community birth attendants were trained.
The training taught the community birth attendants about making COVID-19 hygiene prevention materials such as disinfectant (bleach and Izal) and hand wash. The birth attendants also learnt how to protect themselves and their clients from COVID-19, the signs, symptoms and preventive measures to ensure their safety and client safety. Participants were also trained on how to produce facemasks using fabrics, needles and thread. At the end of the training, each participant was given resource materials (fabric, sewing equipment, chemicals and branded bottles) for continuous production.
Due to the CBA-COVID-19 response program, Community Birth Attendants are now willing to follow all COVID-19 prevention guidelines. In addition, with the resource materials given to them, CBAs can now produce their hygiene materials, and community birth attendants’ health-seeking behaviours are improved.
Written by Tomiyin Ayibiowu.