The Executive Chairman, State Primary Health Care Development Agency (PHCDA), Mr Adamu Gamawa, disclosed this on Wednesday in Bauchi while addressing directors of Primary Health Care and other stakeholders.

Adamu frowned at the increase in reported cases of maltreatment being visited on pregnant women during delivery at various health facilities by nurses and midwives.

He said the agency would from now on establish dedicated telephone lines where any woman that is maltreated by health personnel will call.

“The lines would serve as whistle blower mechanism, while an actual whistle blower unit would be established in the state.

“Before now, you will hear that a so and so abuse has happened at so and so time and place, but it is not easy to track down the culprits,” he said.

Gamawa said that all the complaints received about maltreatments, abuses and poor handling of pregnant women by personnel, would now be treated as formal complaint that the authority could punish.

“What we are now saying is that from now on, we want to bring out a system where both the complainant and culprit could be interviewed to deal with issues raised to enable the agency tackle these abuses.

“Sometimes a pregnant woman will come to the facility bleeding, but no one to take care of her because she may be from a poor family background and allowed to waste away without any reason.

“Any staff found wanting will not be spared because the situation is escalating and we can no longer fold our arms and watch human lives being wasted,” he warned.

He said the agency would apply punishment as an immediate measure and retraining of staff as a long term measure.

“It is not only punishment that will bring down the issue; we have a lot of training programmes on how to treat patients.

“Sometimes it is lack of training that result into such acts, but if you are trained on how to handle patients, you cannot treat patients like that.

“We are using the `carrot and stick approach’, while we are using the carrot method at one hand we will be training the personnel on the other hand,” said the chairman.