Abia vows to improve maternal, child health

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As part of its efforts to improve maternal and child health outcomes under Subsidy Re-Investment & Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Project, the Abia state government has inaugurated an eight- man State Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Steering Committee.

While inaugurating the Committee at the State Primary Health Care Development Agency in Umuahia, the state capital, the State Health Commissioner, Dr Okechukwu Ogah, charged the members to plan how to achieve the programme target.

The Commissioner who was represented by the Director of the State Primary Health Care Development Agency (PHCDA), Dr Chukwuemeka Oluoha, said that by being members of the CCT Committee, they have become part of the programme hence they should draw attention to anything they see or sense that could hinder its success.

He remarked that though the State has seemingly joined the programme after some states had done done so, pledged that Abia would work fast towards benefiting fully from the programme that will end in next year 2015. “Abia must reap all the benefits of this programme even as a latecomer before it ends next year, we are noted for high performance in such programmes and this will yet be another exemplary one. Abia state has reached a point where it can record zero maternal and child death”.

Mrs Stella Okoro who represented the Zonal Director, Mrs Ngozi Nwosu, pledged that all challenges would be surmounted and hoped that the State would fulfill all its roles in counterpart funding.

SURE-P Programme Assistant in the State and member of the inaugurated CCT Committee Mrs Grace Aguiyi who spoke for the members, pledged their determination to see to the success of the programme within the time frame and expressed their gratitude for being considered worthy to serve the state.

Prior to the Committee inauguration, the State CCT Technical Officer SURE-P MCH Project Mr Charles Okere delivered two papers namely: introduction to and objectives of the CCT and its operational guidelines for the CCT Committee while Mr Derrick Onwudinjo, the Communications and Advocacy Officer spoke on the general over view.

In an address, the Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency Dr Ado Muhammad, said that the SURE-P Maternal and Child Heath  (SURE-P MCH) Project is a scale up of the very successful and globally acclaimed Midwives Service Scheme (MSS)  that is currently being implemented by his agency.

He said that SURE-P MCH Project represents an additional mechanism by the federal government to fast track Nigeria’s progress towards the achievement of MDGs 4 &5 adding that prior to its take-off, the MSS had enlisted and deployed over 4000 Midwives and over 1,000 Community Health Extension Workers to 1,000 Primary Health Care facilities linked to 250 general hospitals in all the 36 States and FCT.

Also that in partnership with the States, the SURE-P MCH Project is recruiting and deploying Midwives and Community Health Extension Workers to primary health care facilities across all the 36 States and FCT.  “Seeing the gap between the selected primary health care centers and the communities, SURE -P MCH Project decided to invest in female Village health workers which is an innovative addition to the health care workforce in Nigeria”.

According to him, the maternal and child health component of SURE-P aspires to contribute to the reduction of maternal and new-born morbidity and mortality and increase maternal access to health services through two forms of interventions. The interventions are: Supply side (through providing primary health date centers with health care workers, infrastructure upgrades, and commodities to enable sufficient and quality services delivery) and Demand side (through providing conditional cash transfers to pregnant women in communities across the country to encourage them to go through the full continuum of maternal, neonatal and child health services).

The CCT Steering Committee he said, is being inaugurated to formally kick off the programme implementation in Abia State “it is to enable members to understand how the CCT Programme will be rolled – out, the roles and responsibilities of the state CCT Steering Committee and to gain your support for successful and sustainable implementation adding that his Agency has always worked in partnership with states and LGAs within the MSS Programme.

Source: The Guardian 

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