Enugu targets 1m children, 280,000 pregnant women in free healthcare programme

The Enugu State Government has targeted about one million children for free drugs, medical consumables and other routine services in its ongoing Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Week programme.

The programme, the first round in the year, is also designed to reach out to 280,000 pregnant women when they attend antenatal programmes in health facilities scattered within the state.

Inaugurating the programme in Enugu on Wednesday, the Wife of Enugu State Governor, Mrs. Monica Ugwuanyi, urged pregnant women to take attendance to anta-natal seriously.

She also enjoined them to ensure they carried out necessary tests to understand their conditions better.

Ugwuanyi noted that the tests would afford pregnant women the chance to easily detect when pregnancy complications were looming.

She said it would also enable them to deal with them on time and take useful counsel from a physician on their health condition.

According to her, I want mothers to take all they learnt here seriously and spread the message of the week and lots of its benefits to mothers in all neighbourhoods and localities even in rural communities.

“Our mothers, especially pregnant women, should feed well. Eat healthy foods for the sake of the baby and avoid all forms of processed foods.

“Please, start attending your antenatal and doing your tests on time to understand your body and heed all advice given to you by the doctor concerning your health and that of your unborn child,” she said.

The wife of the governor also stressed the importance of focusing on gender and sexual-based violence and checking the use of drugs and substance abuse among children within the home.

Ugwuanyi said: “There is a lot of violation of minors and children ongoing among us. As mothers, we should be watchful and careful about who comes in contact with our children, even the infants at home.

“In my office, I receive cases of rape of infants even done by close family members and those supposed to protect the child. As mothers, nature has endowed us with the power and wisdom to protect our children.”

 The Executive Secretary, Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. George Ugwu, said that the programme was being carried out twice yearly under the guidance of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.

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Ugwu said that it was being carried out in conjunction with the state’s development partners – WHO, UNICEF, and the state governor’s wife foundation, Ugo Touch of Life Foundation (U-TOLF) – among others.

He said that in the programme, essential health services and commodities would be distributed free in all communities, villages, and hamlets using the over 676 health facilities and outposts where routine immunisations take place.

He said: “We have trained 2,200 health workers to deliver the services for the programme.

“During the programme, women and children will be given health education, prenatal vitamin A, other multivitamins, routine immunisation, family planning commodities, and COVID-19 vaccination among others.

“We are very happy that this year’s first round of the programme is commencing early in the year and, as an Agency, we are prepared to offer this service in an optimised and integrated manner.”

The Executive Secretary expressed gratitude “to caring and health loving governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for always providing us with all the enablement and necessary support.

“ENS-PHCDA appreciates the wife of our governor, Mrs. Monica Ugwuanyi, for her care, love, guidance, and support as well as U-TOLF’s continuous support loads of free drugs, multivitamins, and health consumables each time we have this programme.”

In a goodwill message, the Chairman, Enugu Assembly Committee on Health, Chief Sam Ngene, commended Governor Ugwuanyi’s administration’s stride on health.

He gave the assurance that the house would continue to make laws to better healthcare delivery in the state.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ikechukwu Obi, represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ifeanyi Agujiobi, thanked the governor, U-TOLF Foundation, WHO, UNICEF, NPHCDA, and others for their support that had kept the state’s health sector running smoothly.

The Chairman of Enugu State Traditional Rulers’ Council, Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu, assured that the traditional rulers would use town criers and other local communication means to mobilise women in all localities to participate actively in the programme.

Dr. Nwakego Ibekwe, who represented UNICEF, said that UNICEF is part and parcel of the health success story of the state and would continue to give its support, especially on health issues that affect women and children.

“We call on pregnant women, mothers, and caregivers to use the programme to get free drugs, medical consumables and services free in health care centres as well as spread the good news of the programme to their neighbours for them to benefit.

“I encourage mothers with infants or children of vaccination age to use this programme to ensure that their infants get a full dose of each vaccination to guarantee the infant’s total protection against diseases.

“UNICEF is commending the state government and ENS-PHCDA for being consistent with their health programmes and services as well as putting rural women and children as their priority target in healthcare delivery,” Ibekwe added. 

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