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Cross River community protests death of woman during childbirth

The people of Sankwala community in Obanliku LGA of Cross River State embarked on protests during the weekend following the death of a middle-aged-woman, simply known as Rebecca, aka RB, during childbirth.

The woman reportedly died on Thursday as she was being attended to by a ward orderly at Sankwala General Hospital, when the only doctor had retired to sleep, having been exhausted.

Findings showed that she was the third woman to die under such circumstances in the last few months in the same hospital.

This development angered members of the community, who protested for two days.

One of the youth leaders, Moses Igin, expressed anger over lack of qualified medical personnel and equipment in the hospital.

“There was no doctor, no nurses to attend to her. The woman was rather attended to by a ward orderly.

“We are told that when her condition became critical due to what they call ‘bridge labour’, the doctor was contacted after he had gone home. It was alleged that the doctor was tired having performed four surgeries during the day.”

The youth leader said that Rebecca went through excruciating pains throughout the night with the baby’s head stuck in the birth canal.

According to him, Rebecca’s death attracted very serious reactions from the residents of the community who accused the general hospital of negligence.

In his reaction, the President of Bassang Association in Obanliku LGA, Basang-Sylvania Anyawho, expressed concern over reoccurring cases of mother and child deaths, especially during childbirth, at the hospital.

He said, “For about two days now, the media have been flooded with discouraging and heartbreaking pictures of a dead mother and child who both died during the sacred process of labour that lasted for over three days.

“It is however unbelievable to learn that two precious lives were lost due to similar circumstances that could have been averted by proper measures and appropriate medical attention.

“This medical insecurity has become the new norm at Sankwala which was purposefully built to standard as one of the best in the country at a time.

“The continued mishaps and medical inadequacy has forced many to believe that the hospital has become a ‘dead trap’ in disguise.”

According to him, the hospital serves hundreds of thousands of residents of Obanliku and Boki LGAs, as well as some communities in Benue State.

He urged the member representing Obanliku State Constituency in the House of Assembly to urgently move a motion for the immediate rehabilitation, staffing and management of the hospital by relevant agencies.

“Our representatives at the National Assembly too should look into facilitating projects like building of doctors/ nurses quarters, provision of sophisticated medical equipment and lots more to the hospital for the benefits of the people and their well-being,” he added.

In his reaction, the state governor, Senator Bassey Otu, regretted the deaths and conveyed his condolences to the the paramount ruler, Amons Item, assuring that such will not reoccur.

He granted express approval for the mobilisation of manpower at Sankwala and other government health facilities, especially those in rural areas across the state.