The rough handedness of pregnant women by health workers in government hospitals calls for concern. The practice of respectful maternity care is not entirely in force in government-owned hospitals or clinic in Nigeria.
Respectful maternity care is a global concept that envisaged the right of women to proper health care service at pregnancy, during labor and even after giving birth by health workers or healthcare providers in a friendly and respectful way.
I took a tour around some government-owned health clinics in Karu LGA, Nasarawa State to hear from pregnant women who came for antenatal services at the health clinics. I was shocked by the response I got from the women. The women narrated their ordeal of the rudeness, rough handedness and the use of abusive words from the health workers.
Not just only pregnant women that suffer from rough handling, also those who came for immunization also narrated their experience at the various health care facilities. They described the action of some of the health workers as uncalled for and inhuman treatment.
Just of recent, my younger sister shared the experience of her boss who went for antenatal services in one of the government-owned hospitals in Abuja. It was a touching experience, in the course of her visits, one of the nurses shouted and insulted her without any justifiable reason for her action. Her boss replied back and warned the nurse never to abuse her, but the nurse persisted with the insult. She had no option than to leave the hospital to a private hospital where she was well received, welcomed and treated with a high sense of dignity.
The truth is that not every woman can afford to access antennal services at private hospitals because of the high charges.
I discovered lately that if the same health workers be it a nurse or midwives who engaged in the act of manhandling of pregnant women find herself working in a private hospital, she would be nice to women. I think there is a psychological undertone to these whole issues that as a fact of urgency must be addressed immediately.
Some Nigerians suggested a psychological test should be carried out on health care workers directly involved in the dastardly act to ascertain the true state of their minds and soundness.
This call for consistent training and re-training of health workers on respectful maternity care and strict sanctioning of offenders or health workers who wrongly maltreated pregnant women as well as mothers who came for immunization services.
By David Arome
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