22 January 2013

Nigeria: FCT Gets Committee to Monitor Cash Transfer for Pregnant Women

A steering committee is in place to monitor proposed payment of N5,000 incentive to encourage women to attend antenatal clinic.

The sum will be paid twice after women register and attend antenatal clinic, according to plans for conditional cash transfer (CCT) set in the upgraded Midwives Service Scheme.

FCT secretary for health and human services, Dr Demola Onakomaiya, who inaugurated the committee said it would ensure the conditional cash transfer is successfully implemented and supervise payment for beneficiaries.

Paying women to attend antenatal clinic was conceived amidst concerns over increasing demand for health services in hopes of cutting down pregnancy- and childbirth-related deaths among women and newborns; it is funded from the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) in Abuja.

A pilot CCT is set to roll out in nine states across the country, but the incentive could help increase the number of women seeking help with expecting and cut down maternal deaths, said Dr Ugo Okoli, director of maternal and child health under SURE-P in the FCT.

She said the programme "could place on track to achieve (targets set in the) millennium development goals as well as contribute to the Save-a-Million-Lives initiative by rapidly scaling up the Midwives Services Scheme."

Nigeria hopes to reduce maternal deaths by two-thirds by 2015. At present, more than 400 women among every 1,000 giving birth die during pregnancy.

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