Investigation has shown that in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, most women, for inexplicable reasons, now go through surgery for child birth as against natural method. JOY EMMANUEL explains why.
In the olden days, pregnant women used to deliver their babies through natural ways. After nine months of carrying the pregnancy and labour comes calling, expectant mothers, especially those who lived in remote villages, would visit any nearby traditional birth attendant. After then, the next thing would be the cry of a new-born baby.
In some cases, there are stories of pregnant women who went to their farms and delivered on their way home without the help of birth attendants or midwives. There were also cases where women who went to church services delivered right in the church as they were caught in labour pains unaware.
CS used to be a taboo
In times past, it was almost a taboo for a woman to deliver a baby through Caesarean Section otherwise known as CS. It was, indeed, a very rare case for a pregnant woman to pass through Caesarean delivery. Before a surgical operation could be conducted on a pregnant woman who is due for delivery, it would have been medically proved to be a severely critical condition in which caesarean section becomes the only option.
For instance, if the baby is too big to be naturally pushed down by the mother, then surgical procedure has to be followed to ensure the safety of the mother and her unborn baby. Such cases were usually one among hundreds of women who delivered naturally and safely too.
CS still a choice despite risk
Ludicrously, the reverse has now become the case in Nigeria, predominantly in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital. Although vaginal delivery is medically proved to be the safest way of child birth, doctors nowadays often advise expectant mothers to go for CS which medical experts describe as more complicated and pose health risks for the mother and the baby. Some of the risks associated with it, according to medical reports, include blood loss, organ damage, allergic reaction to anesthesia, infections and blood clots. Other risks posed by delivery through surgery are longer post-birth stay in the hospital, longer period of recovery and the huge financial burden associated with the prolong stay. Also, subsequent delivery through the method may neccesitate the same method in subsequent delivery.
Despite these associated risks, caesarean delivery is becoming a practice in Yenagoa. Investigation by Blueprint reveals that out of every 10 pregnant women in Yenagoa and its immediate environs, six now give birth through saesarean delivery while only four have it the normal way. Checks further reveal that there is more to the current trend regarding women delivery pattern than meets the eye.
CS as money spinner
Blueprint authoritatively gathered that the quest for illicit money making is largely responsible for the prevalence of saesarean delivery in most hospitals and maternity homes these days as it was learnt that there are shady arrangements between nurses working in health centres and doctors in hospitals who specialise in surgical operations on pregnant women who are usually booked for CS. According to findings, nurses in many of the clinics and maternity homes secretly play the role of agents to medical directors particularly medical doctors who run private hospitals.
It was learnt that these nurses specialise in referring their pregnant clients to private hospitals for CS and in turn get their commissions for every referral made. As a result of the financial gains from the deal, it was gathered, nurses are no longer interested in the natural way of women giving birth. They now treacherously fabricate reasons why unsuspecting expectant mothers should go for caesarean delivery. They give their victims all manner of frightening reasons and at last refer them to their preferred hospitals for surgical operations where their commissions would be guaranteed thereafter.
Further investigation reveals that a government health centre at Yenizuegene community in the state capital is notorious for this kind of racket. It was learnt that senior nurses at the said health centre have made it a practice to refer almost every of their clients to a particular private hospital at INEC Road, Kpansia in Yenagoa where they reportedly receive between N30,000 to N20,000 as commission per each referral made.
Eye witnesses accounts
A pregnant woman, who narrated her ordeal in the hands of the racketeer nurses, told Blueprint that she narrowly escaped the illicit act at the said health centre, noting that though the various pregnancy tests and scans she ran proved that her foetus was healthy and well-positioned, the nurses told her at the point of labour that she would not be able to deliver naturally but through CS.
According to her, “In the course of my pregnancy, I underwent three pregnancy scans in different diagonistic centres. I even did one a day before my labour started and all showed that my baby was normal and well-positioned. But when I got to the health centre at Yenizuegene here in Yenagoa where I registered and told the senior nurse on duty that labour had started, she checked me and said there was no way I could deliver naturally. She further told me that there were two places where they normally refer pregnant women to for CS, one at INEC Road and the other at Bay Bridge Road all in Kpansia community in Yenagoa.
“She insisted that I must go to either of the two places insisting I go to any of the two or my baby would die in my stomach. She further said that my baby was breech and the respiratory rate had gone so low which may result in the baby’s death soonest. She also specified that each of the hospitals she mentioned collects N180,000 and N200,000 respectively for their surgical operational services. That was when l remembered what my neighbour told me that there are extortionist nurses in that health centre whose stock-in-trade is to refer pregnant women to a hospital for CS and get commission in return but I wouldn’t listen.
“Immediately, l asked my husband to take me out of the health centre to another place; that same day, l delivered my baby naturally. That was how God saved us from borrowing and the many complications that are associated with caesarean delivery.”
She called on the state Ministry of Health to critically monitor all health institutions, both private and public, operating in the state with a view to nipping the ugly trend in the bud.
Other eye witnesses who spoke to Blueprint concerning the situation said many families have been thrown into untold hardship as a result of forced caesarean delivery as some of the surgeons who carry out the surgical operations are not well trained, thereby causing serious complications such as organ damage and blood loss which had led to deaths of many women while others have been rendered barren for life. Some families who are lucky to go through the unnatural process during delivery have to contend with how to get funds to pay for the cost of the operation on one side and also have to face the cost of feeding and taking care of the nursing mother on the other hand.
In their respective views, this new trend where medical practitioners make brisk money to the detriment of unsuspecting expectant mothers must stop forthwith.
Medical expert reacts
However, Dr Loveday Okpara of the Department of Obstetric and Gynaecology Federal Medical Centre Yenagoa said majority of women of up to 85% deliver naturally while only about 15/20% may require surgical intervention.
He said the decision are taken after due considerations to save the lives of the mother, the child or both. According to him, there quit a number of reasons why a woman could be considered for caesarean operation.
He however noted that the issues of expectant mothers being deceived by some health workers for a caesarean operation for their own financial gain may more prevalent in Africa than developed countries.
“Most private clinics for reasons best known to them subject a woman to caesarean section, but that is not the standard practice; it’s for personal gain, because when they operate they make more money.
“It is not medically adviceable; it is wrong and not a standard practice but in government-own facilities, there must be a clear indications and the reason must be justified before you go ahead.”