Researchers at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) have urged the Federal Government to reactivate Free Mother and Child Health (FMCH) Programme and initiate a law that will further back up the program to ensure sustainability.
Federal Government in 2008 initiated the FMCH programme to tackle the issue of poor maternal and child health indices.
The programme however came to an end in 2015 with just little achievement to show for it.
The free health programme was less productive because successive governments, both at federal and state levels failed to give it adequate political backing.
According to the Researchers, “the use of political appointees instead of Commissioners of Health to manage the project interfered with project implementation in some states. Lack of political support from State Governors after initial enthusiasm was a major factor in the collapse of the project.”
Presenting the report on how the FMCH was marred, the Researchers, Obinna Onwujekwe, Felix Obi and Benjamin Uzochukwu said the fact that federal government only operated a top to bottom approach did not allow for community ownership.
“Wider stakeholder consultation may likely have improved the design, and ensure synergy and alignment with similar interventions such as the MSS program which was also funded by OSSAP- MDG and was being implemented by NPHCDA during the same period as the NHIS-MCH program in some of the focal states”, the report reads.
They further urged the Federal Government to encourage State governments to include counterpart funding for maternal and child health programme in their health budget.
After seven years of ‘acclaimed’ Free Mother and Child Health (FMCH) programme, Nigeria has yet to meet the Millenium Development Goal (MDG) 5, that seeks to reduce to the barest maternal and child mortality.
Pregnant women and Neonates in the country have continued to die in their numbers due to lack of quality healthcare services.
Comprehensive structure to curb maternal and child mortality is yet to be put in place.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP, one of the researchers, Mr. Felix Obi finally called on the federal government to do more than paper works and execute the National Health Act, as it is one best way to tackle health issues in the country.