The Federal Government has concluded plans to pay women who attend antenatal clinics as part of efforts to tackle the menace of maternal mortality.
The plan would be executed as part of the Midwifery Service Scheme (MSS) introduced in 2010 and it is hoped that it would also impact positively on child health.
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 the conclusion of payment plan to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday. He said government budgeted N15 billion for Maternal and Child Health Care from the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P). He added that part of the money would also be used to employ additional 2,000 midwives for the MSS.
“The SURE-P Maternal and Child Health Care component has budgets close to 15 billion naira for maternal and child health component. 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 what do you need to do for the client to be able to come to access your services? You must remove the financial barrier.”
Mohammed said the payment plan was designed to assist women to address the demand side constraints of maternal health. The director said the total package of the financial incentives for each woman was five thousand naira.
He said: “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.’’
Mohammed also told NAN that while antenatal clinic attendance was free, it had some incidental expenses that discouraged pregnant women from registering for antenatal care. He said funding from Sure-P would enable the agency to ensure that the relevant health services were of good quality, that care providers were available and to ensure that the facilities provided were conducive to antenatal attendance. Mohammed added that part of the fund would be used to train health services providers, a component germane to the growth of the programme.