By Peter Tah & Olives Akem
World Health Organization’s recommendation of one ultrasound scan before the 24th week of pregnancy has never been a reality for most women in the Sabga community due to the absence of an ultrasound machine.
Pregnant women in this community have had to make trips to Bambui, Mbingo and as far as Banso for a scan. The acquisition of an ultrasound machine in Sabga Baptist Health Center is a relief to the population of Tubah Health District and its environs.
Irine Kiyong, aged 27, says she will no longer have to travel all the way to Banso during her second pregnancy for an obstetrics scan. Irene, who is a nurse, explains that the new ultrasound machine will not only minimize cost, but also save her time.
The great need for the ultrasound services was expressed through the excitement of the locals who came out to receive the life-saving equipment. On same day, pregnant women queued at the health centre for an ultrasound scan for the first time.
One of the women, Mirable Kwala is in her third pregnancy but has never gone for an ultrasound scan. The 26 year old tells Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services (CBCHS) press, “I am very happy for this new service. I will now be able to get a scan and ensure the total health of my baby and mine too”.
While many of the women who turned out to be scanned were concerned about the cost, their fears were immediately turned into joy when the Chief of Centre (COC) for Sabga Baptist Health Centre, Godlove Ekfui informed them that the Director of CBCHS has subsidized the cost. Instead of FCFA 6000, they will be paying FCFA 5000. This special offer to the community is to ease access for all pregnant women and ensure that every pregnant woman gets at least one scan before delivery.
Men have also been strongly advised to use the services of the ultrasound machine especially those at risk of prostate cancer. The equipment, in fact, is for everyone including children who can now get heads scan as well.
Speaking during the reception and dedication ceremony of the modern ultrasound machine, Genevarus Yinkfu, the representative of the District Medical Officer for Tubah applauded Sabga Baptist Health Center for the effective coverage of its health area as assigned by the district. He equally encouraged the population to take up the services at the health centre especially those that have added with the presence of the new equipment.
Mr. Yinkfu noted that the health center has an excellent record keeping system and is always operating in compliance with laid down norms.
Andrew Samba, the Coordinator of Chief of Centers for Tubah and Solomon Nji, the Quarter Head of Sabga, both saluted the ties the health centre shares with the community and hailed the Director of CBCHS for his visionary leadership that led to the creation of the centre.
Rev. Kicha Emmanuel, Pastor of Bambili Baptist Church prayed for the staff and dedicated the new equipment to God Almighty. The ceremony was heavily attended by members of the health committee, traditional and local authorities.
WHO reports show that infant mortality in Cameroon stood at 52.8 per 1000 births in 2016 which means that the country still ranks very high among countries in the world with highest mortality for children under five. Also, statistics from CIA World Fact Book indicate that maternal mortality rate in Cameroon was 596 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015.
The ultrasound machine which is the first in the health center since its creation in 1986 is part of efforts being put in place by the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services and other health stakeholders to curb the high infant mortality rates in the country.