By Bode Olushegun
Pregnant women and nursing mothers are to be allowed free medical care in Borno State as the state government has procured drugs, medical consumables and ambulances for distribution to 75 primary and secondary health centres in the state.
Speaking while launching the distribution on Wednesday in Maiduguri, Borno state Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, said the drugs and medical consumables would be provided free of charge to the less privileged women in the state especially pregnant women, during delivery and after.
The Governor, who lamented that large number of women are having difficulties in having access to drugs and healthcare facilities, said that henceforth the less privileged women in the state would be visiting the 75 health centres in the state for free drugs.
He said: “It is not only during delivery, during their antenatal period, the drugs will be provided to the women freely. It is also one of the objectives of this administration, which has been enshrined in our 10-point agenda.
“And we have promised the electorate during our electioneering campaign that we shall provide free maternal drugs to less privileged women in the society if voted into power.”
In his remarks, Borno State Commissioner of Health, Dr Saliyu Kwaya-bura, noted that maternal mortality rate in Nigeria was at an alarming rate, with maternal mortality of 576 deaths per 1,000 life births.
The Commissioner who was represented by Dr Buba Mshelia, said in Borno state, the figure was well over 1,000 deaths per 100,000 life births, adding that according to the data from 2018 National Demographic Health Survey, 51 percent of all pregnant women in Borno state recieved quality antenatal care, but however, only 26 percent delivered in the hospital under skilled attendance.
He said: “Furthermore, transportation to the health facilities was recognised as a major challenge. It is in recognition of this ugly trend and reverting it that made government to procure various drugs and medical consumables worth over N80 million for distribution free of charge to 51 major primary healthcare facilities and 24 functional secondary health facilities across the state.
“They include 5000 antenatal registration cards, 3000 tins of folic acid and B complexes each carton containing about 1000 tablets, 2500 cartons of drips , 16 2018 have ambulances and 33 tricycle ambulances among others to ease transportation and strengthen referrals. It is hoped that this will increase delivery in the hospitals,” Kwaya-bura said.
The Commissioner paid tribute to the frontlne health workers who have remained resolute in the fight against the wild polio virus and the COVID-19 pandemic.