The Society and the Future, a Gombe State based Non-Governmental Organisation, has advocated for free maternal health services for reproductive age mothers in the state.
Malam Ibrahim Yusuf, the Coordinator of the NGO, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe on Monday.
He said the state government already has a policy trust that all pregnant mothers and children below age five should access free health care services.
“Our findings show that the scheme is on, but only implemented at the specialist hospital.
“Some pregnant women have confirmed to us that sometimes they pay even at the specialist hospital,” he said.
Yusuf urged the government to ensure the policy was implemented all over the state “as money has been budgeted for that purpose”.
He said full implementation of the policy would improve maternal healthcare as well as reduce mortality rate as a result of child birth and pregnancy related complications.
“Some of the women cannot afford transport fare to health facilities talk more paying other charges; but with free health service, they will be encouraged to go,” Yusuf said.
Reacting to the development, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Kennedy Ishaya, said the scheme has been on in the 22 general and cottage hospitals owned by the state government.
“Initially, the previous administration was spending N19.5 million quarterly for pregnant women to access free antenatal services as well as free medical care for children bellow the age of five.
“When Gov. Dankwambo came on board, he reviewed the amount to N25 million quarterly.
“The problem is that the local governments refused to key in into the programme as directed by the state government,” Ishaya said. (NAN)