Lagos State General Hospitals and Primary Health Centres are currently providing free antenatal care and child delivery services to pregnant women resident in Lagos State as part of the rolled out relief measures announced by the State Government to cushion the hardship being faced by residents as a result of fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government.

Recall that the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, rising from the State’s Security Council meeting held on Monday, July 31, 2023, directed General Hospitals and Primary Health Care Centres to offer free ante-natal care and child delivery services; normal and cesarean section, to expectant mothers as part of announced relief measures to ease burden of the fuel subsidy removal on Lagosian.

Governor Sanwo-Olu had earlier mentioned that his directive to the Lagos State Government owned primary and secondary health facilities to offer the free medical services is geared towards ensuring that the health of families are taken care of  while easing them of the worry of financial constraints and increasing access to quality health care delivery in Lagos State.

Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye who carried out a compliance monitoring visits regarding the directive to some State hospitals including the Ifako-Ijaiye and Isolo General Hospitals over the weekend, noted that the implementation of the free ante-natal care and child delivery services as directed by the Governor will help improve maternal and child health indices in Lagos.

Ogboye who expressed satisfaction at the level of compliance to the free ante-natal and child delivery services in hospitals visited, explained that the Governor Sanwo-Olu led administration recognizing the prime place of maternal and child health in the society thoughtfully issued the directive for free medical intervention to pregnant women to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal on expectant families.

In his words: “The Governor recognized that the cost of ante-natal care and child delivery services would add to the burden of fuel subsidy removal on cost of living for expectant parents, and this is why the Governor announced the free medical intervention as part of the rolled out measures to ease off the burden.

“I am impressed by the level of compliance to Mr. Governor’s free ante-natal and child delivery service directive at the health facilities visited. Having gone round the ANC clinics, post-delivery wards and baby nurseries at the Ifako-Ijaiye and Isolo General Hospitals, it is heartwarming to see the smiles on the faces of newly born and their parents.

“I would like to thank the management of these hospitals and the health workers for quickly putting in place modalities and carrying out the Governor’s directive to the letter, this is an indication that all government institution are in sync regarding the harsh reality of fuel subsidy removal and the intervention to ameliorate the suffering of citizens”, He said.

Ogboye explained further that the free medical intervention initiative is an immediate priority directive by Governor Sanwo-Olu to cover the cost of ante-natal care including cost of registration and ANC clinics as well as normal and cesarean section child delivery services.

“This intervention, an immediate priority decided by the State Government to cushion the impact of the removal of fuel subsidy and stabilize the conditions of the ordinary citizens, has further showed the State Government as a proactive and responsible Government with human face always willing and ready to make life bearable for citizens, particularly at this critical time. He said”

The Permanent Secretary noted that the free health intervention which seeks to increase access to quality maternal and child health services, is in line with the State Government’s Universal Health Coverage attainment drive.

He added that the Lagos State Government has over the years been putting in place various health strategies and initiatives geared towards providing succour to the poor and less privilege in the society who require health care services and cannot afford the cost, such that no one is left behind in the drive to ensure access to health care delivery services in fulfilment of the UHC goal.

While restating the commitment of the present administration to the provision of access to quality and efficient health care services, Ogboye assured citizens that pregnant women who are registered at the Lagos State Government primary and secondary health facilities for ante-natal care services would benefit from the free medical intervention until it is discontinued.

The Permanent Secretary also assured of the State Government’s renewed commitment to put in place strategies geared towards the reduction and eradication of maternal, child and infant mortality as well as the general improvement in all maternal and child health indices.

Speaking in the same vein, the Medical Director of Ifako-Ijaiye General Hospital, Dr. Bamidele Mustapha disclosed that the Ifako-Ijaiye General Hospital complied with the free health intervention almost immediately, with no fewer than 30 people already benefiting from free ante-natal and child delivery services including cesarean sections, at no cost to the beneficiaries.

Bamidele stated further that that the State Government has been very supportive and committed to the welfare and wellbeing of mothers and children especially with regards to quality, efficient and accessible health service delivery in the State adding that the provision of the free ante-natal services had put smiles on the faces of residents who originally could not afford the cost of delivery.

A beneficiary of the free child delivery service at the Ifako-Ijaiye General Hospital, Mrs Oluwademilade Mustapha who delivered a baby boy through caesarian section lauded the free medical service initiative of the State Government. She thanked the team of medical staff who attended to her noting however that the attitude of the nurses who attended to her were excellent contrary to the opinion she had before coming to the hospital.

“I am very happy with my experience in this hospital. My experience here is contrary to the rumors I have heard about nurses in government hospitals. Nurses here are friendly, they take good care of patients and all treatments have been free of charge. I thank the Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu for this opportunity” She said.

Another beneficiary, Mrs Eniola Samuel, who was also delivered a baby boy at the General Hospital, Isolo thanked God and the team of medical staff at the facility for saving her life from the complications she encountered during childbirth. She expressed satisfaction at the quality of healthcare she received free of charge. While appreciating the Governor of Lagos State for introducing the initiative, Samuel noted that the intervention helped save her life.

“I thank God Almighty for life, I appreciate God for using the doctors and nurses in this hospital to save my life. God empowered them to keep me alive despite the complications I encountered during child birth. I am also very surprised that up to this moment, I have not been made to pay for anything, and I have been told that I will not be charged for my treatment here. I really appreciate the Lagos State Government for this great opportunity” She said

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