CALABARâ€”The World Bank and federal government have lent support to the Cross River State government over the Free Health Care Programme for pregnant women and children under five years.
The assistance comes under the platform ofÂ â€œProject Hopeâ€, which is complimented by the Conditional Cash Transfer Scheme, known as â€œProject Comfortâ€ .
The World Bank, through Dr. Suleiman Yusuf, pledged a financial assistance of $6 million to boost Project Comfort, while the Minister of Health, Prof. Babatunde Oshotimehin, pledged a donation of 10,000 mama kits and 500 delivery kits to the Free Health care programme.
Launching the two programmes, which are focussed on life-changing health care and welfare package for less privileged Cross Riverians at the Primary Health Care Centre, Ukpa Bekwarra local government area, Monday, Oshotimehin commended the Cross River state government for initiating programmes that touch on the development and welfare of its people, as practised in Cuba and Korea.
According to him, such programmes have heightened literacy rate as well as eradicatedÂ incidence of measles and polio in the two countries.
He noted that those countries manufacture all drugs and vaccines they need to boost their educational and health requirements, and called on Nigerians to invest in humans as Cross River had lightened his job by supporting his belief that resources should go to the states and local government, as that is where development is.
The minister described Governor Imoke as one governor who discussed practical solution to a problem rather than seek for resources that will come to states, describing the events as very important.
On his part, Dr. Suleiman Yusuf of the World Bank said the event was one of the remarkable things to happen in the country in the past few years and appreciated the state for introducing the two programmes to effect changes on rural dwellers.
He described the programmes as a proactive action designed to take people out of poverty and noted the programmes as unique features which should be taken seriously, since government had taken pains to identify beneficiaries.
Yusuf pledged World Bankâ€™s support in technical grant and financial assistance of $6 million.
Dr. Andrew Lubewe of World Health Organization (WHO) said the programmes were aimed at reducing deaths among pregnant women and children and asked families to ensure that their children wereÂ well spaced for growth.
He also called for the training of health workers to do their job as well as make available health facilities, strengthe routine immunization, provide mosquito nets, and breast feeding of children by mothers.
Highlight of the launching was the donation of an ambulance, Mama kits and other items for pregnant women by Mrs. Obioma Imoke and she urged people to register as it is free of charge, adding that the programme is intended to change their lives, create a reverse to the rate which women die at child birth due to ignorance, poverty and disease while the Minister of Health recommended identity cards to beneficiaries of Free Health and Conditional Cash Transfer.