Incredible, you would say! But it is an unquestionable fact. Kerosene, petrol,matches and nylon bags have become major requirements for expectant mothers before delivery in Lagos. Ordinarily, demand for these items, particularly kerosene is quite odd. But given the poor power supply in the country, what alternative does a health centre in a rural community have to keep delivered mothers warm before they are discharged?
This explains why health centres in Alimosho Local Government, a suburb of Lagos are now adding half gallon of kerosene to the list of requirements expectant mothers must submit before delivery. A visit to some other health centres revealed that in addition to the power problem, chronic shortage of medical personnel is another challenge. These inadequacies continue to affect effective delivery of healthcare services.
The LGA, home to about two million people and one of the largest local governments in Lagos State, can only boast of two PHCs. Worse still, Alimosho has one of highest maternal mortality rates in the state. A 2008 NDHS Report shows that it had about 900 deaths per 100,000 live births.
It was gathered that the kerosene is for boiling hot water when they need it in preparing tea or bathing their babies. One Mrs. Oladimeji who delivered a year ago at Merian Health Centre, recounted her experience.
“It is common practice in Lagos PHCs, not just Alimosho. I delivered last year at Merian health centre, I was asked to bring five litres of fuel and kerosene. My husband paid about N1, 500 for the two items,” Oladimeji stated.
Written by Chioma Obinna
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