Governor of Abia, Okezie Ikpeazu, has stated that pregnant women in the state are given N500 for giving birth in government-run basic health care facilities.
“Abia State has keyed into the basic health insurance for pregnant women. If you give birth in any of our centres, you get N500,” Mr Ikpeazu said.
Mr Ikpeazu revealed this during a Channels TV program on Wednesday, saying the N500 was provided to the women along with delivery bags.
He said that the funds came from the state’s basic health-care insurance program for expectant mothers.
“Delivery is free, they give you a delivery pack and N500, which is running for the vulnerable members of the society,” the governor said.
When asked how the N500 would aid new mothers, Mr Ikpeazu defended his administration’s policy by claiming that the government was already covering the cost of the women’s delivery.
He also stated that the sum would be sufficient to cover their return transportation fare.
“Free delivery. Are you asking a poor woman what she will do with N500? Some people don’t have it. At least it will pay their way back home,” the governor said.
As the country battles to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor’s comment comes as the cost of food and newborn care goods continues to rise.
The Joint Action Committee of the Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH) shut down operations at the hospital last month after 22 months of non-payment of salaries.