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Maternal health: Task before Lagos govt

By Chioma Obinna

Ahead of the Gubernatorial polls next weekend, Civil Society Partnership and its technical partners, Innovation Matters, have tasked the incoming government in Lagos to eliminate barriers to family planning, use and increase contraceptive prevalence from the current 48 percent to at least 74 percent with a view to attaining the National Blueprint on Family Planning.

The Federal government had at the 3rd Nigeria Family planning conference launched the country’s blueprint to increase the usage of family planning from 15 percent to 36 percent by 2018.

The Group noted that one of the key barriers to access for women in Lagos is the out-of-pocket cost of consumables, including the burden of personally paying for gloves, surgical blades and gauze/cotton wool.

“If the government of Lagos funds the provision of consumables in support of the family planning blueprint, it will save the lives of mothers and children while promoting saving and economic development at all levels.

Averting unintended pregnancies

They further noted that by funding family planning consumables and reaching its share of Nigeria’s family planning blueprint, Lagos will avert over 700,000 unintended pregnancies, prevent 79,000 unsafe abortions, save the lives of over 2,300 mothers and 28,000 children as well as save more than N11 billion in healthcare costs.

From every N1:00 spent on more effective methods, including implants and IUDs, could save over N1, 358.00 in near – team health costs.

They also decried lack of attention to disable persons that uses state’s Primary Health Centres, PHCs. According to them, none of the PHCs visited in areas like Ilasamaja and Awoyaya met toilet specification for wheel chair users. There are no ramps in 13 PHCs.

Media Officer, Development Communications, DevComs, Network/NOTAGAIN Campaign, Mr. Ayodele Adesanmi at a one – day interactive session with the media on “Putting on health Issues on the Election Front Burner in Lagos State” noted the significant progress made by the country on reduction of maternal and child health.

To sustain the laudable steps made already, he stressed the need for the Implementation of National Health 2014 which is currently awaiting implementation.

He also stressed the need for increase funding for Health to the committed 15 percent Abuja declaration, encouraging access to maternal health by removing barriers such as compulsory blood donation, high cost of health services, power and inadequate drugs.

“There is need for government to put mechanism in place to monitor and enforce quality services in health facilities. Adopt best practices that have been confirmed to reduce maternal deaths, work towards achieving family planning 2020 target of 36 percent contraceptive prevalence rate,” he stated.

Laudable steps attained include; Abiye in Ondo State, Midwives Service Scheme, Sure – P, National Health Act, building of maternal and child health facilities and flagship centres equipped with doctors and midwives.

In his own contribution, the Chairman, House Committee on Health, Lagos State House of Assembly, Hodewu Suru Avoseh, said to ensure a better healthcare delivery, the state apart from other milestones achieved has established flagship PHCs in all the 20 Local Government and 37 LCDAs, training of staff abroad and infrastructural development in the health sector as well as the building and equipping of a cardiac centre.

Insurance scheme

He said the State House of Assembly is presently fine-tuning a Bill that will create a sustainable insurance scheme for both private and public sectors in the state.

He explained that the Bill is coming at a time when the state public institutions are becoming increasingly overwhelmed and incapable of providing such services for which they were established.

Avoseh said government has a lot to provide for the establishment of the Lagos State Contributory Health Scheme and dismissed the “political slogan, free healthcare” saying it is a total deceit.

“The bill will also address the problems concerning doctors’ strike and salaries of health workers as they will now be paid by the Health management organisations, HMOs. In the scheme, you will choose your hospital and your own doctor.

He said that though the universal health coverage establishes that at least every citizen must access health care facilities without paying at the point of service, in the case of Lagos State, people from neighbouring states also come to access these facilities.

“That notwithstanding, he stated that somebody must pay as health is not free. He declared that if everything is done by the government alone, everything will collapse at a point.”


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