Lagos State Government will require about N70bn annually to take care of the over 300,000 pregnant Indigent women in need of nutritional assistance in the state.
The Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Civic Engagement, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, who disclosed this during a press briefing at Alausa Ikeja, said the government had spent over 500m on food packs for mothers and their unborn children since the scheme began.
According to her statement, the initiative surrounding the Maternal and Infant Child Health (MICH) programme was aimed at taking care of indigent pregnant women in order to develop the brain and physical wellbeing of the unborn child.
As part of the third phase of the programme which is slated to be launched on September 22, weekly provision of food packs will be made available to 1,140 pregnant women comprising 20 beneficiaries in all the 57 council areas of the state.
Adebowale hinted that the food packs are specifically meant for pregnant women, adding that her office had put measures in place to monitor the beneficiaries through the office and community approach.
While appealing to the federal government and the private sector to key into the programme, Adebowale explained that if a child is properly developed through nutritious foods, it would affect the larger society positively.
“Under the THEMES programme of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, civic engagement falls under Security and Governance. We believe we should start the issue of security from conception, that is from the womb. The brain needs development. If the brain is not developed well, the child will not be able to learn. The most important for the unborn child is the brain.
“If our indigent pregnant women are eating well, because we have those who take alcohol and other harmful things during pregnancies. So if a child is not well developed and he is born, he will not be able to learn, so he will not be academically sound. So it will be easy for such children to go into cultism or drug addiction. So our programme in the long will benefit the society at large,” she said.
She added, “If actually we are to take care of all pregnant women in Lagos State, it will cost not less than N70 billion. All states should come on board for the programme and emulate the idea.”
She further argued that taking good care of pregnant women would guard against maternal and child mortality, saying good foods ensure wellbeing and security.
One of the partners at the event, Dr. Wale Akeredolu, a medical officer from Mushin Local Government said citizenry of Lagos stands to benefit because the security of the people will be guaranteed.
“For us to have responsible mothers, the health of the mothers and babies must be considered. The patronage we are giving will improve the healthcare at neo-natal and ante-natal for overall development.”
Also speaking, Dr. Japhet Olugbogi, medical officer from Ifelodun LCDA reiterated that pregnant women are to be taken care of if the society will have to be secured.