The Ogun State government is targeting 15,000 pregnant women as beneficiaries of its free delivery programme tagged “Ibidero” as part of measures put in place to improve the state’s maternal mortality index.
Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker disclosed this in Abeokuta, the state capital, while speaking to newsmen on the new scheme.
She noted that the initiative was a health insurance scheme of the state targeted at vulnerable indigent pregnant women across the 20 local government areas of the state.
Coker noted that through the programme, the enrolled pregnant women would have access to free maternal health services at their assigned health centers, which will reduce the risk of complications during or after pregnancy.
She revealed that “Ibidero” was designed to include a conditional cash transfer whereby the pregnant women captured on the programme get a stipend after delivering their babies at their assigned health facility.
Each beneficiary would be registered in hospitals within a walking distance to their homes, she added.
“Last year, 3,000 pregnant women benefitted from the pilot phase of the programme. As a consequence, His Excellency, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has graciously approved the scale up of the programme to 15,000 beneficiaries,” she said.
Dr. Coker further disclosed that about 300 public and private health facilities at the primary and secondary levels have been enlisted for the programme.
She said the gesture by the government would contribute to a significant reduction in maternal mortality cases, ocassioned by extreme economic vulnerability, in the state.
“One of the indices by which the overall status of the healthcare system of a country or state is assessed is its maternal mortality rate. According to the WHO, the maternal rate of Nigeria stands at 917 deaths per 100,000 live births, making us the fourth highest globally.
“It is worth noting that most of these deaths are preventable, but according to reports, only 40% of all births in the country take place in a health facility. The implication of this is that most of our pregnant women are at the mercy of traditional birth attendants (TPAs), faith homes, etc, during their pregnancy and delivery period. That’s why, I believe, this initiative is quite timely,” she said.
The commissioner added that the cash transfer innovation of the programme was conceived as an additional incentive to ensure that the women attend antenatal care regularly and deliver at the assigned hospital, adding that this would aid government to reduce morbidity and mortality that might arise as a result of complications.
She assured that the present administration is committed to providing affordable, qualitative, and accessible healthcare for all.