churches with a call on Christain Leaders in the state to engage their
members on the benefits of the initiative.
At a meeting with the Christain Leaders on Tuesday in Yenagoa, the Deputy
Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (rtd) said the government is
fully determined to ensure that the Safe Motherhood message gets to every
pregnant woman in the state.
The Deputy Governor disclosed that the Restoration Government will
continue to engage critical stakeholders on the need to reduce the rate of
infant and maternal mortality in the state.
He explained that it is the duty of the government to provide reachable
health facilities for pregnant women but it beehoves on them to avail
themselves of the opportunity to use the facilities.
Jonah thanked Governor Seriake Dickson for the initiative and also praised
the Commissioner for Health and his Information and Orientation
counterpart for spearheading the campaign to save the lives of pregnant
women and their infants.
“I am impressed by other dimensions the Commisioner for health is using to
reach out to people, I also want to thank His Excellency for this safe
motherhood initiative. In this case we need to tell our people the
importance of this scheme so that they will know what to do and where to
go. I want to also appreciate the Commissioner for Information for the
On his part, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel
Iworiso-Markson said the meeting is a follow up to the charge by Governor
Henry Seriake Dickson during the first summit on Safe Motherhood, that no
life should be lost as a result of child birth.
Iworiso-Markson added that to show his commitment, Dickson has made
financial provisions for pregnant women, approved the establishment of
health centres in different wards across the eight local government areas
with well equipped facilities and the right personnel.
He enjoined the Christain Leaders to partner with the government to
sensitise pregnant women, and assured of the readiness of his ministry to
visit any church irrespective of its location to disseminate the safe
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Health Prof. Ebitimitula Etebo said
pregmant women in Bayelsa die due to lack of knowledge and insisted that
it must stop.
He further said that as much as there are traditional belief system, women
need to embrace the opportunity given by the government to ensure that
mother and child is safe, healthy and sound.
“We are saying that every pregnant woman should go to health centre closer
to them. As the sensitisation and the campaign is going on, all pregnant
women should ensure that the registration process is done.We are not just
doing this for the safety of our mothers but we are also doing that to
ensure that our children stay alive.
“We are also given money to traditional birth attendants for referring
pregnant women to the hospital. In addition to the monthly N3000 by the
governor, you will be given N2000 for registering and another N2000 for
antenatal. Once you have registered the scheme, everything from early
pregnancy till point of delivery will be taken care of”.
In their separate remarks, the Special Adviser to the Governor on
Religious Matters, Pastor Samuel John Peters and the Government House
Chaplain, Bishop Doutimi Egbegi encouraged pregnant women to do what their
doctors say and never be afraid to go for Cesarean Section if the need
In his presentation, a consultant Gynaecology at the Federal Medical
Centre, Yenagoa, Dr. Andrew Igbafe explained the major causes of maternal
and infant mortality to include, Bleeding, Hypertension, Obstructed
labour, complications during labor, unsafe abortions, among others.
Dr. Igbafe who advised the Pastors to always encourage their pregnant
church members to go for ultra sound said: “Pastors should only do their
job as pastors and let the Doctors do their job as Doctors. Not when we
tell them to do this, you turn and tell them to do another thing. Please
ministers of God when we are in church, let us leave the issue of health
to health practitioners in the church.
“I want to quickly tell Pastors, Let us not equate our faith with the
faith of members in the church. When you tell them to pray also tell them
to do the needful with regards to medical checkups.
“No pregnant woman should complain about money because the governor has
taken care of the monetary aspect. All you need to do is carry yourself to
the hospital and leave the rest for the doctors.
The meeting had in attendance over one thousand clergymen and the State
Chairmen of the Christain Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Pentecostal
Fellowship of Nigeria(PFN).