On September 14, 2007, Constance lost her immediate family in a road accident. She survived the accident, but not without sustaining a major hip fracture. Since that black September, Constance lived with the pains of her damaged hip, the lifestyle limitations that came rent-free, and more grievously, the loss of every member of her immediate family.
Twelve years later, Constance had received a good deal of relief from the grief of her family’s death, although she still bore emotional scars. Her hip fracture on the other hand stayed fresh and made enormous lifestyle demands on her. She had trouble sleeping well due to the pains; she never went back to school, never played a game, never moved without clutches, and a lot of other limitations.
But favour found Constance. Her physiotherapist got news about GEANCO’s free hip and knee replacement surgeries and it was too good to be true! She applied, and to her amazement, was selected. The surgery came through and Constance began a new life.
While she was being interviewed, she expressed her gratitude and amazement. She plans to go back to school, once the surgery sets. Her life can now take a new turn.
“I am so fortunate … it is the grace of God that has made GEANCO to choose me. Because I don’t know them, I have not come in contact with any of them. I say a big thank you to GEANCO. I pray the Almighty God will grant their heart desires and protect their families.“
– Constance Ojo
Rejigging Traditional Birth Attendance – The GEANCO Effort
Paschaline, Sam and Amaka have always wondered why the pregnant women who they have been trying to help access quality delivery services at the primary health center (PHC), keep evading the health centers for the homes of the traditional birth attendants (TBA). To Paschaline and her friends working for GEANCO on the Anemia control program, the TBAs are not hygenic and professional enough to attend to the women. But the women keep testifying about the ‘better’ care they receive from the TBAs.
Three months ago, the team attended a Health Care Delivery workshop organized by Management Development Institute (MDI) in collaboration with Lagos Business School (LBS). At the end of the MDI-LBS experience, the team was asked to carry out a Community Health Intervention Program (CHIP) for their communities. It was an easy decision for Paschaline and her group to decide that repositioning the practices of the TBA was the way to go.
The Traditional Birth AttendantsThese are women who have skills in birth attendance. They inherited these skills from their mothers or learnt it by apprenticing. In the traditional African community, these TBAs were the accepted midwives, and they did their work with a great sense of duty to their community and to Chukwu – God.
Western medical practice has largely encroached on traditional medical practice. Many believe it is for good, whereas others bewail it as an erosion of years of sophisticated folk medical knowledge and skill. Many individuals who subscribe to the latter school of thought keep choosing the traditional health care system to the orthodox practices. The population of the people who belong here is significant.
Repositioning The TBAsThe Community health intervention program of GEANCO foundation as anchored by Paschaline and her team is aimed at improving the responsiveness of the TBAs to the women who prefer their services. This is achieved through the training of the TBAs and collaboration with hospitals. The key element is to reduce sepsis (infection through unhygienic practices) and to forge a referral line to expert orthodox doctors.
Summary of the CHIP Plan
The team provides support for TBAs and gives them the same support GEANCO currently gives the hospitals. “We aim to make sure the women who use TBAs also attend antenatal with them”.
- Trains the TBAs on emergency response, hygiene and critical danger factors
- Provides safe mama kits to help with hygiene
- Pays for the routine drugs to be used by the women
- Provides money for fruits and vegetables,
- Helps the TBAs save money -get them back to Senior CHEW – Senior Community Health Extension Worker
“We can’t phase them out, because the women keep going back to them – if you do there will become secret and more problems happen.” –
The Training for the TBA will cover the following
- When to refer patients
- Infection control
- Basic physical examination in pregnancy –
Paschaline, Sam and Amaka are excited about their project. They are giving it all the energy they have. The overall effect is that more pregnant women now access adequate maternity care the way they most prefer – whether at the health centre or at the TBA.