According to reports, the Ebonyi State Government, on Thursday, said it would prosecute any cleric or leader of traditional institution who allowed a woman to die either at home or in the church during child birth.
It said that the state government had labeled it as criminal offense for anyone to allow such to happen.
This was disclosed by Governor David Umahi during the 1-day Stakeholders Advocacy Planning meeting for the Prevention and Management of Pre-eclampsia organised by the White Ribbon Alliance and conjunction with Population Council.
Umahi, represented by his Special Assistant on Primary Health, Dr. Chris Achi, announced that already, the state government had put relevant laws in place to ensure that the abnormally is stopped.
“If you allow any woman to die at home in the course of childbirth without taking her to a hospital, it is a criminal offence. In fact, there is already a law on that. Such a person must be prosecuted.
“We are sensitizing our women to know the importance of going to the hospital for antenatal care. This is because if there is any potential problem that would be a hindrance or an issue during childbirth, it is discovered during antenatal” he said.
Also speaking, the National Coordinator of White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria, Mr. Tonte Ibraye, lamented that maternal mortality rate, largely orchestrated by pre-eclampsia was high in Ebonyi State.
According to Ibraye, “Over 1,000 women die per 100,000 childbirths. Indicators are high and Ebonyi State has the highest number of child mortality rate in the whole of South East region. Majority of these deaths occur as a result of pre-eclampsia. It is a hidden killer such that the women themselves don’t know when it comes in” he lamented.
“The reason why we are having this programme is because we are bringing the civil society organizations together in collaboration with population council and other partner organization to develop an advocacy action plan to advocate for the government of Ebonyi State to increase financial support for the improvement of maternal, newborn and child health.
He explained that pre-eclampsia (PE) is a disorder of pregnancy characterized by the onset of high blood pressure and often a significant amount of protein in the urine. According to him, pre-eclampsia is leading contributor to maternal deaths in Ebonyi State.
“The condition begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy. In severe disease there may be red blood cell breakdown, a low blood platelet count, impaired liver function, kidney dysfunction, swelling, shortness of breath due to fluid in the lungs, or visual disturbances.
“Pre-eclampsia increases the risk of poor outcomes for both the mother and the baby. If left untreated, it may result in seizures at which point it is known as eclampsia” he added.