Reps seek free healthcare for pregnant women

Leah TwakiMay 23, 20243 min

There is a need for the government to prioritize policy actions aimed at improving healthcare delivery systems, particularly for pregnant women.


The House of Representatives has directed the Federal Ministry of Health (FMH) to ensure that healthcare institutions provide free medical treatment to pregnant women during and after delivery.

This decision was reached during plenary on Wednesday at the green chambers as the House also tasked the FMH with implementing routine checks to ensure compliance by medical personnel and the sustainability of childbirth processes.

These resolutions came following the adoption of a motion emphasizing the need for pregnant women to access free medical treatment from public health institutions.

Rep. Mohammed Dan Abba Shehu (PDP Bauchi), who sponsored the motion, underscored the government’s responsibility to provide medical services through public healthcare institutions. “The government established public healthcare institutions to provide medical services to humanity,” Shehu stated, adding that these institutions are well-equipped with modern facilities and are responsible for handling various healthcare-related matters.”

Shehu noted that despite the availability of healthcare services, the push for free treatment for pregnant women has not been fully realized.

He highlighted alarming statistics from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to stress the urgency of the situation. The fertility rate has consistently been around 5.67% from 2016 to 2019, reflecting the high birth rate in Nigeria.

Despite this, the country faces significant challenges, with 7.2 million childbirths annually, yet experiencing high infant mortality rates, including 262,000 babies dying at birth and 357 dying within the first month.

Shehu further stressed that Nigeria’s maternal mortality rates remain unacceptably high, exacerbated by disease and pregnancy complications.

Nigeria is grappling with high disease rates, resulting in an annual maternal mortality rate of expectant mothers and children due to pregnancy complications and the polio virus,” he said.

He called for enhanced attention to be given by medical professionals to pregnant women during childbirth to address complications effectively.

There is a need for the government to prioritize policy actions aimed at improving healthcare delivery systems, particularly for pregnant women, to alleviate their hardships and boost their confidence,” Shehu remarked.

In his ruling, Deputy Speaker Rep. Benjamin Kalu instructed the Committee on Healthcare Services and Healthcare Institutions to work closely with the Minister of Health and Social Welfare to ensure compliance with the new directives. The committee is expected to report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

STAR Check: Nigerians, particularly, constituents of Bauchi, can keep tabs on the legislative performance of Rep Shehu throughout the 10th House here. 

Leah Twaki

A Chemistry graduate, excels as a social media manager, digital journalist, and content creator with an interdisciplinary skills blend of science and communication.

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