Go to Hospital, for Antenatal not Prayer Houses, Physician Warns Pregnant Women

By Ikeugonna Eleke

A consultant community physician at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, Anambra State, Dr Chinomnso Nnebu, has advised women to stop patronising prayer houses for antenatal care.

Nnebu said no fewer than 20 women had died in pregnancy-related complications in Anambra State between January and June this year.

The consultant lamented that many pregnant women in the state prefer going to church for prayers in pregnancy related matters than seeking help in medical facilities.

Nnebu who spoke at a maternal mortality review meeting on Tuesday, in Awka, the Anambra State capital, attributed this to one of the causes of maternal mortality in the state.

He said, ‘Some faith-based organisations will keep pregnant women and be praying for them instead of advising them to go to the hospital. Faith works but faith without work is dead.

‘We need to educate pregnant women to stop giving birth in prayer houses because they cannot manage pregnancy complications.

Speaking, the state’s reproductive health coordinator, Dr Obianuju Okoye, said the state had recorded 20 maternal deaths from nine healthcare facilities across the state between January and June 2022.

Okoye said the state established an electronic platform where hospitals in the state could record data on maternal deaths.

‘From the reports on our e-platform, the state recorded 20 deaths from nine hospitals between January and June, mostly from hard to reach areas. This review meeting will help the state government to know where the problems are coming from and how to collectively address them,’ he said.

In his remarks, Dr Afam Obidike, the state’s Commissioner for Health, said the meeting was to review causes of maternal deaths in the state and proffer solutions to put an end to the trend.

‘There are cases where a pregnant woman goes to primary healthcare centres and when things become difficult, there is nowhere else to go. Hence we are working on strengthening the referral system too.

‘If we put things right, we are ensuring the safety of the next woman that will deliver. Gradually we will reduce maternal mortality rate as much as possible in the state,’ Obidike said.