The Enugu State Government has suspended a community health extension worker at Ameke Health Centre in the Aninri Local Government Area, Mrs Pascaline Njoku, over alleged negligence and dereliction of duty.
The suspension was contained in a statement by Governor Peter Mbah’s media office issued on Wednesday.
The suspension of the health worker, based on the statement, followed the report and findings by the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency over absence from duty post without authorisation and failure to attend to patients.
Her suspension, the statement indicated, was to allow for a full-scale investigation, following information that Njoku’s absence resulted in a pregnant woman, Mrs Emeka Nkemdirim, giving birth to twins in a car on her way to a private hospital at Awgu.
In the statement, the Executive Secretary of the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Ifeyinwa Ani-Osheku, was quoted to have urged expectant mothers to stop patronising traditional birth attendants due to the associated dangers.
“This is a peculiar case. Visiting traditional birth attendants 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 crises,” he added.
He warned that the government would sanction any staff member involved in the dereliction of duty in line with the provisions of the Enugu State Public Service Rules.
Ani-Osheku also urged 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.
According to the statement, even though the woman was immediately attended to by other healthcare workers after the delivery, the executive secretary visited the mother and her twins alongside the Chairman of the council area, Bennett Ajah, and other health workers.
He insisted that every healthcare worker must stay at their duty posts, noting that the new administration has been working round the clock to provide a conducive working environment, and to improve the welfare of health workers in the state.
Ani-Osheku commended the governor for ensuring that the needs of workers in the state are prioritised, adding that the behaviour of the health worker deviated from the ethics of the profession and the principles espoused by the present administration.
While felicitating with the family of Njoku over the safe delivery of the twins, the Council Chairman, Ajah, commended 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.
The council boss said he would not tolerate negligence and dereliction of duty by health workers in local government and promised to improve the health and living standards of those in the area.
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