The Enugu State Government, Tuesday, suspended Mrs Pascaline Njoku, a community health extension worker at Ameke Health Centre in Aninri Local Government Area over negligence and dereliction of duty.

This was as the Executive Secretary of the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, ESPHCDA, Dr Ifeyinwa Ani-Osheku, appealed to pregnant women to stop patronising traditional birth attendants, warning about the dangers associated with the practice.

The suspension of Mrs Njoku followed the report and findings by the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency over her absence from her duty post without authorisation and failure to attend to patients.

While communicating the decision to suspend the health worker in order to allow for a full-scale investigation, Dr. Ani-Osheku said Mrs Njoku’s absence from her duty post resulted to one Mrs Emeka Nkemdirim giving birth to twins in a car on her way to a private hospital at Awgu.

Dr. Ani-Osheku, who insisted that every healthcare worker must stay on their duty posts, said the new administration has been working round the clock to provide a better working environment and improved welfare for health workers in the state.

She commended the state governor, Dr. Peter Mbah, for ensuring that the needs of workers in the state are prioritised, saying the behaviour of Mrs Njoku deviated from the ethics of the profession and the principles espoused by the present administration.

Even though Mrs Emeka was immediately attended to by other healthcare workers after the delivery, the Executive Secretary visited the family of the mother of twins alongside the Chairman of the council area, Hon. Bennett Ajah, and other health workers to see how they were fairing as well as provide support to them.

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She stated that government would sanction every staff involved in the dereliction of duty in line with the provisions of the Enugu State Public Service Rules, urging members of the public to seize the opportunity afforded by the state’s whistleblowing policy to report unethical behaviours observed anywhere in the public service.

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She further advised pregnant women to desist from visiting traditional birth attendants for delivery as it is unsafe since most of them are not qualified to midwife delivery.

“This is a peculiar case. Visiting traditional birth attendants (TBAs) can lead to complications and worsen conditions of pregnant women during delivery as some of the practices are unwholesome and unprofessional. Even though the patient attended ante-natal care at the primary healthcare centre at Ameke Ofuma, she battled at the TBA’s house for almost three days until the matter got out of hand before they now decided to come to the primary healthcare centre.

“So, our women should see hospitals as the only place for safe delivery because of the trained professionals, who are on the ground to attend to them and manage crisis situations,” he added.

Felicitating the family of Mrs Njoku over her safe delivery, the Council Chairman, Hon. Ajah, while commending the Mbah administration for prioritising healthcare in the 2024 Budget, including the planned construction of 260 Type 2 primary healthcare centres in all the electoral wards, said that the Council would not tolerate negligence and dereliction of duty by health workers in local government.

He promised that his government would continue to work with the Mbah’s administration in improving the health and living standards of the council area.