by Isi Esene
Nigerian unborn babies now seem to have some stipend from the Federal Government awaiting them to start life as soon as they are delivered.
This is so as the FG has concluded plans to pay pregnant women who attend antenatal clinics as part of efforts to tackle the menace of maternal mortality.
The scheme would be executed as part of the Midwifery Service Scheme (MSS) introduced two years ago with the expectation that it would impact positively on child health.
According to the Nation Newspapers, more than 4,000 midwives have been deployed to 1,000 health facilities nationwide under the MSS.
Dr. Abdullahi Mohammed, director, Primary Health Care System Development, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, disclosed to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)that the government budgeted N15 billion for Maternal and Child Health Care from the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P).
Mohammed revealed that there’s a plan in the offing to employ an additional 2,000 midwives for the MSS.
In his statement, he said, “The SURE-P Maternal and Child Health Care component has budgets close to 15 billion naira for maternal and child health component. [The] key elements involved is not just on the midwives bringing them (pregnant women) alone, the other component of it is what we call the conditional cash transfer; it’s also part of the demand side intervention.
“You know in the health care delivery system we have the supply side intervention; we have the demand side intervention. For the supply side intervention includes all what we do; the input that we need to put in to provide the services. But the demand side intervention [is]; ‘what do you need to do for the client to be able to come to access your services?’ You must remove the financial barrier.”
He continued saying, “The key issue the conditional cash transfer is designed to address is those demand side constraints, but there is a financial incentive for the woman who does some basic things that are tied to being provided these incentives.
“The woman must deliver at the facility; if she does, she is entitled to something; the woman must also ensure that the child is fully immunised. The total package is about N5,000. It is not big, but the feeling is that considering the level of poverty, it’s enough for women to attend antenatal clinic.”
Those babies won’t believe their luck when they finally arrive.