In Yaba local government area of Lagos state, there is a riverine community that has been inhabited for more than 200 years by settlers from Badagry and speakers of the Gunuvi dialect. Severely neglected, they suffer over-fishing, population explosion, lack public school and, lack tarred access road. They only have one borehole, sunk by an NGO, to serve over 3000 citizens; a waterfront clinic donated by another NGO, and no other discernible amenities bar electricity.
Sogunro Pedro Community is the settlement captured above. It is one of the three communities in Yaba LGA – Oko Agbon and Makoko – being the others, which abuts Third Mainland Bridge.
On Thursday 24th March 2016, Project ASHA, with support from HACEY Health Initiative and Birthing Kit Foundation, Australia having taken stock of the health needs of the women and girls of Sogunro, organised a one-day training workshop for Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs): “Safe Deliveries; Healthier Children”.
ASHA’s Programmes Director, Ms Vweta Chadwick, a pediatrician from the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Dr. Emerald Chukwuemeka, Sogunro TBAs, their colleagues from adjoining communities and other stakeholders were in attendance.
In her opening remarks, Ms Chadwick stated that government’s failure to provide a functional, affordable and accessible primary healthcare facility as well as other basic infrastructure instrumental to the well-being of all is a breach of their rights especially as it pertains to the SDG 4 which prioritizes good health and well-being. Their non-performance is directly linked with all the ensuing sufferings and needless deaths and lifelong trauma experienced by pregnant women and children of Sogunro.
Continuing, she says, ‘when the government fails, civil society must step up to curb the consequences of their actions or lack thereof. These selfless women and men, saw a need, moved by a strong desire to be the solution, they’ve stepped up to support pregnant women. The least we could do is appreciate them, encourage them, support them by training and equipping them!’
Global and national statistics bear out the truth that TBAs are vital in Third World countries, therefore ASHA sought a vast broadening of the effectiveness and efficiency of TBA via training to modify behaviour.
The women and men who were put through their paces by Dr. Chukwuemeka indicated a much more nuanced grasp of their jobs; they asked insightful questions and were not shy to state their limits. Dr. Chukwuemeka interacted with the assembled TBAs on signs of complications requiring referral and, prevention of neo-natal sepsis.
Mr Peter Koja who has been in practice for 42 years, Mrs. G. O. Ogundairo for 15 years and Mr Hlonfo Jacob who has been attending to births for two years showed that it is a job that cuts across generations. These three generations of TBAs and their other colleagues needs the worlds’ ears, eyes and hands.
After the event the Baale, Chief Abraham Mesu, assured Project ASHA that the community will offer its fullest support in the implementation of all goals set.
ASHA will continue monitoring the progress of the 27 trained TBAs for the next 12 months.