Tensions ran high in Sankwala, a small community nestled within Obanliku Local Government Area of Cross River State, as enraged residents took to the streets over the tragic demise of a pregnant woman and her newborn baby following an excruciating three-day labor.
The grieving woman, known only as Mrs. Rebecca, hailing from Busi 5 village, breathed her last at the local General Hospital on Thursday, October 19, 2023, all because the resident doctor was nowhere to be found.
The heart-wrenching incident unfolded as Mrs. Rebecca was rushed to the hospital but found herself stranded without the medical attention she so urgently needed for three agonizing days. Tragically, both mother and child succumbed to the harrowing ordeal, leaving the community in mourning.
Allegations began to swirl that the medical director of the hospital was largely absent from his official duties, focusing his efforts instead on his private clinic. For three long days, attempts to contact him proved futile.
Deeper investigations into the matter exposed the woeful state of the state-run hospital in the local government area, a facility sorely lacking in medical equipment, staff, and essential medications.
In response to this appalling tragedy, Chief Hon. Peter Akpanke, the Member Representing Obanliku/Bekwarra/Obudu Federal Constituency, expressed his profound sorrow and outrage. He stressed that no woman should lose her life while bringing a new one into the world. In his official statement issued on Saturday, October 21, he lamented the dire situation that had cast a pall over the community.
“It is with deep sadness and pain that I received the heavy news of the unfortunate occurrence at the General Hospital, Sankwala, the headquarters of Obanliku Local Government Area of Cross River State, which resulted in the loss of lives,” he said.
“It is highly regrettable that a process that was supposed to bring joy to the good people of Obanliku in general and the families of the deceased in particular has thrown us into mourning.
“It is therefore with great concern for the well-being of our people that I once again use this period of mourning to call on the Cross River State Government, under the leadership of Senator Prince Bassey Otu, to urgently address the huge infrastructural deficit in Obanliku LGA, which was completely neglected by the previous administration in the State.
“On my part, I will continue to use every resource and opportunity available to me in ensuring the reduction and/or elimination of maternal and neonatal mortality rates in our Federal Constituency.
“The situation, which has persisted for far too long, is unacceptable to me, and it is time we do things differently by coming together for the good of our people who are in desperate need of the dividends of democracy. No woman should die to give life, and every baby born is a life we should fight to save.
“On behalf of my family and the good people of Obanliku/Bekwarra/Obudu Federal Constituency, I pray for the peaceful repose of the deceased and the fortitude for the bereaved families to bear this excruciating loss. Thank you and God bless.”