Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate
By Patrick Ugeh
In a bid to drastically reduce child and maternal mortality, the federal government monday paid various sums of money to pregnant and nursing mothers to encourage them to go for ante-natal care in government health facilities and to allow their children to be immunised against the childhood killer diseases.
Administered by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), the funding of the project, known as Conditional Cash Transfer, is done by the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P).
The event took place at Dei-Dei Comprehensive Health Centre in Bwari Council Area of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, called on state and local governments to use their shares of the SURE-P proceeds of the money saved from the subsidy removed from the pump price of petrol to fund this and other health programmes.
While noting that the SURE-P money belonged to all Nigerians, Pate said only those qualified for the services should receive it.
He, therefore, charged community leaders, civil societies and other citizens to monitor the supplies of drugs and other requirements to health facilities and ensure that what were supplied were the items approved for them by the government.
According to him, they should promptly report cases of irregularities to the appropriate authorities.
Pate said was the best way to ensure transparency and accountability in the system.
He disclosed that about one million women attended ante-natal facilities owned by the federal government last year during which time 218,000 lives were also saved.
The Executive Director of NPHCDA, Dr. Ado Muhammad, explained that under the Conditional Cash Transfer programme, pregnant women were paid N1,000 each for their first ante-natal visit to a government health facility, while another N1,000 for the second to fourth visits and the same amount for immunisation.
After delivery, he said, the women get N2,000 each, bringing the total to N5,000 per woman.
He stated that since the launch of the programme in Kuja, FCT, there had been a three-fold increase in the attendance rate to government hospitals.
Launching a magazine titled “MAMA” for maternal and child health care, Mohammad said it signified their compact with the Nigerian people to provide health services to these vulnerable people.