Delta Governor, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, has called for increased governments and other stakeholders’ commitment to free healthcare for pregnant women and children under five years.
Okowa made the call on Saturday when he received the National President of Police Officers Wives Association (POWA), Hajia Hajara Alkali-Baba, on courtesy visit at Government House, Asaba.
He said that more provisions by governments and organisations for free medical care for the vulnerable, especially pregnant women and children, would check rising rate of maternal and infant mortality in the country.
The governor commended the POWA president for her three-point agenda of welfare, health and education of police officers’ families and said that they would help not only the women but the entire family and the nation.
According to him, when you take care of the health and education of women and children, you have already taken out the burden from the family.
He said that Nigeria had a very bad record on maternal and infant mortality, which ought not to be so.
Okowa disclosed that Delta commenced provision of free basic healthcare for pregnant women and children since 2016 and urged the Federal and state governments to work assiduously in this regard to address the ugly trend.
“I believe that it is not too much in this country to ensure that the health of women and children, particularly for those under five years of age where most of our children die needlessly.
‘As a country, we can truly resolve and be able to fund it. Clearly put this people in our mind that they are vulnerable in the society and therefore have programmes that can truly impact on their lives .
“Every child under five years of age and pregnant women should truly be able to access basic healthcare treatment free of charge.
“It is something that is doable because successive governments in Delta have been doing it and we have not found the burden to be too high.
“I encourage the Federal Government and states to take this seriously so that we can provide basic healthcare services for these categories of people,” he said.
He said a greater role must be played by the government to encourage women to enable them stand for the family and thereby making the home more peaceful.
“We know that in this country when you truly empower a woman you have not just empowered that woman, you have actually empowered the family.
“This is because if the woman is able to stand out and take care of the family, the burden on the men is less, the children are likely going to grow up as better citizens of this country.
“When the home is peaceful, our children will be more focused and their education is better assured and when the health of the family is right everything will have to work well.
“The best way we can actually reach out to the poorer people or less-privileged is to ensure that the health of the family is good and the education of their children is assured and the woman is empowered in one little way or the other to be able to ensure there is food in the house.
“I know that there are all manner of subsidies and empowerment projects but we must find a way to target these empowerment to affect the lives of the poor in such a manner that they will be able to survive the harsh economy,” the governor stated.
Earlier, Hajia Alkali-Baba had said that her delegation was in the state to encourage the police family because they had been demoralised since after the ENDSARS protest.
She stated that she had prioritised welfare, education and health of the police officers’ wives and families in her three-point agenda.
The POWA President said that she had visited six states including Delta, since assuming her position, because she was desirous of encouraging police officers’ children to perform optimally in their education.