28-year-old Fatima Abdullahi, a mother of six
Some women have commended the Kaduna State Government and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for improving the quality of newborn care in Primary Health Care centres (PHCs) across the state.
The women, who recently had their babies at the newly-established neonatal corners in some of the PHCs, described the quality of services as “very impressive”.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews in Kaduna on Thursday, that the health workers handled their tasks with a high level of professionalism.
One of them, a 28-year-old Fatima Abdullahi, a mother of six, said that the services from the antenatal care up to delivery were quite impressive and comforting.
Abdullahi, who delivered her sixth child at the PHC Badarawa, Kaduna, told NAN that it was her first experience delivering a baby in a health facility.
“It is quite comfortable delivering in the hospital because of the quality of care and the professionalism of the healthcare workers who cared for me with so much love.
“They made me feel at home, with everyone ready to assist me whenever I needed help. The experience was different from my previous five deliveries at home.
“At home, I lost so much blood; usually accompanied by constant stomach pain. I suffered a lot and am always so weak that sometimes I feel like I will not survive it.
“So, this time, I decided to deliver in the hospital, and I am glad I did, because it is so much better and so assuring,” she said.
On her part, Mrs Sheila Franklin, 35, said her three-day old baby was delivered at the neonatal corner of PHC Sabon Tasha, Kaduna, adding that the quality of services was spectacular.
“The labour room was so clean and sweet that it didn’t even look like a delivery room. The health workers are mother and baby friendly.
“They treat us with utmost care with no shouting but love. They enlightened me on optimal breastfeeding and the moment I delivered, they took my baby and placed her on my chest to start suckling,” she said.
The midwife at the facility, Mrs Mercy Ibrahim, said she was among the health workers that were trained by UNICEF on neonatal care after the newborn corner was established at the PHCs.
“Before we struggled when handling new babies, but after the training, we learned how to provide adequate care for the child and the mother and support the mother to practice early initiation of breastfeeding,” she said.
Also, the Health Manger, PHC Badarawa, Mrs Lami Isah, said that the neonatal corner established with support from UNICEF has significantly improved newborn care in PHCs.
Similarly, Mrs Habiba Aliyu, State Motherhood Coordinator, explained that the newborn corners were initiated to curb neonatal deaths in the state.
Aliyu said that health workers were trained with support from UNICEF on how to take care of neonates immediately after they are born.
Dr Idris Baba, Health Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna, explained that UNICEF is working with the Kaduna state government to improve newborn care with a view to reducing infant and maternal mortality.
Baba said that the state government is establishing a newborn corner across all PHCs in the state that would be fully funded and equipped by the state government.
He said that currently, the government has equipped newborn corners in 200 out of the 255 functional PHCs, one per political ward.
“UNICEF has provided technical and financial support for the training of the health workers that will be deployed to the newborn corners.
“We will continue to provide such support until we saturate all the neonatal corners that will be established by the government in all PHCs across the state,” he said.
The health specialist also said that UNICEF would support the establishment of level two newborn units, one in each of the three Senatorial Districts in the state beginning with Yusuf Dantsoho Memorial Hospital, Kaduna.
He said that the units would be fully funded and equipped by UNICEF and provide capacity building training of the health workers that would be deployed by the state government.
According to him, the idea is for the unit to provide referral support to the newborn corners established at the PHCs level.
“We hope by doing this, we will make some progress on newborn care in Kaduna State.”