Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 6 July 2013 | 4,729 times
The pilot scheme of the maternal and child health programme of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), has kicked off in Anambra State as well as eight other states of the federation, including Abuja.
The programme’s aim is to mitigate the impact of the fuel subsidy reduction on the vulnerable population in Nigeria through the use of conditional cash transfers, CCT, initiative and improved primary health care facilities across the country.
Other benefiting states include Ebonyi, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Niger, Kaduna, Ogun and Zamfara, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja. The programme took off in the states after a successful test run of the programme in the FCT.
Objectives of the programme include to reduce maternal and infant mortality by encouraging pregnant women to go through ante natal care until their babies are born. Another objective is increasing the welfare pregnant women by providing them with cash support to reduce the impact of economic barriers towards accessing health services.
At the inauguration of the 11-member steering committee in the Anambra State capital, Awka, the Anambra State Director of Primary Health Care, Dr. Chukwudi Okoye, said that the four selected health facilities for the project are those at Nnobi, Ebenesi, Akwaeze, Oraeri and Awka Etiti, while Ekwulobia General Hospital is to serve the referral centre.
Dr. Okoye, who represented the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Lawrence Ikeakor, revealed that the Okija General Hospital, which was earlier selected as the referral centre in the state, was dropped because of alleged inadequate facilities in the hospital.
Okoye stressed that the committee would coordinate the conditional cash transfer and also recommend additional health facilities on other local government areas that will participate in the programme, as well as monitor and track the implementation of the cash transfer.
He added that the pilot programme, which will last for one year, would be extended to other areas. He also noted that only those who meet the required conditions would receive the stipulated funds to be paid every two months to the beneficiaries.
He stressed the need for local governments to be carried along in its implementation by signing a memorandum of understanding, MoU, with them for effective participation. This, according to him, is one way to ensure the success of the programme.
•Photo shows SURE-P Chairman, Dr. Christopher Kolade.
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