Commissioner frowns at Enugu FMCH Programme

Commissioner frowns at Enugu FMCH Programme

By Larry Onwuta, Enugu

Despite the effort of the government towards improving the health sector, the Commissioner for Health, Enugu State, Dr. Sam Ngwu, has described the Free Maternal and Child Healthcare Programme, FMCH, initiated in 2007 as ambiguous and froth with chaos and confusion and as such the noble ideal or programme is not working as it should.

Ngwu stated this at a public hearing organized by the Enugu State Committee on Health yesterday on how to resuscitate the programme and make it effective, according to him, that he discovered that the programme is ambiguous and needed to be streamlined the moment he assumed office.

The Commissioner pointed out that there so much confusion in the programme that indigenes of other states in the South East and even beyond came to the state to avail themselves of the free maternal health services saying that this brought decay to the system.

“If you see our delivery rooms, you will weep where these babies are delivered.

“There was total chaos and confusion.  It was burdensome by people taking advantage of the programme from other states,” he laments.

Also the former Commissioner for health, Dr. Martins Chukwunwike, under whose time the programme began, further lamented that the programme was no longer working, affirming that the programme which was meant for the poorest of the poor, have been turned into revenue venture for the government.

“The FMCH is meant for the poorest of the poor but emphasises has shifted from saving life to raising internally generated revenue, IGR,” he said.

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He, however, noted that the FMCH Programme’s impact was enormous and should be revived to help the poor, saying that as a result of poor facilities at the government health centres have forced some pregnant women to seek alternative health services elsewhere.

Meanwhile, a non-governmental organization, White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, Nigeria bemoaned at the poor workability of the programme and urged the government to improve.

Representative of the organization in the South East and Enugu State Coordinator, Mrs Miriam Menkiti, sued that showing of tax clearance to access the programme should be discontinued since it was meant for the poor.

“The FMCH is not working.  24 hours service is required.  The health facilities should be improved and showing of tax clearance receipt to access the programme should be dropped,” Menkiti points out.

The public hearing which is meant to improve on the programme was attended by different health personnel as well as non-governmental organization and community based organization such Umuada Igbo.

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