Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi has initiated free healthcare services for pregnant women as part of efforts to tackle the rising rates of maternal and infant mortality.
Bello, at the inaugural ceremony of the service in Anyigba, Dekina Local Government Area, said that its aim was to make pregnancy as safe as possible for poor and vulnerable women, who cannot afford antenatal and delivery care in hospitals.
He said that the service, which was introduced 17 months ago, recorded huge success at its pilot phases, which encouraged government to enlarge it with the assurance that “we were on the right track”.
Bello, who was represented by Dr Ahmed Attah, his Special Adviser on Health Matters, said that the achievements had encouraged the scaling up of the initiative to all corners of the state.
”Under this programme, our mothers, wives and sisters enjoy free booking, drugs, tests, and all other required antenatal and delivery cares.
”With Health Care plus, and more health friendly projects to come, I have no doubt that the maternal and child health indices in Kogi State will continue to improve for the good of our people,” Bello said.
He, therefore, enjoined the people to embrace the opportunity and avail themselves of the outstanding dividends of democracy from the government.
Dr Saka Audu, Commissioner for Health, in his remark, said that the initiative had been implemented in Maternal and Child Health Centres in Agassa and Gegu-beki communities in Kogi Central and West Senatorial Districts.
According to him, the initiative involved renovation, remodeling and re-equipment of primary healthcare centres, and free maternal and new-born healthcare services.
Others are free deliveries including operative deliveries, two ways referral system, free antenatal drugs, laboratory services, and post natal contraceptive services, among others.
He added that the initiative had improved the antenatal attendance by 60 per cent and hospital deliveries by 50 per cent, which would spread across the state.
The Ejeh of Dekina, Dr Usman Obaje, who was represented by Onu of Abocho, Alhaji Tijani Okutachi, commended the governor for giving priority to citizens’ health.
He assured the governor of full support for his reelection bid, saying that the people of Dekina would reciprocate the good gesture.