• Tuesday, March 05, 2024
businessday logo


Reps to investigate non-payment of allowances to 3,600 midwives

  • warn against likely relapse of child, maternal mortality

House-of-RepsThe House of Representatives on Thursday unveiled plan to investigate the non-payment of allowances to over 3,600 midwives employed for the implementation of the integrated maternal, newborn and child health (IMNCH) scheme across the country.

The scheme being implemented by the Federal Ministry of Health was part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5, of which Nigeria and 188 countries adopted at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2000.

To this end, the House mandated the joint committee on MDGs and Health to investigate the non-payment of the allowances and ensure that concrete modalities were mapped out to immediately offset the debts.

In his lead debate, Mark Igbillah (APC-Benue), noted that the Federal Government introduced the Midwives Service Scheme (MSS) in 2009 in the bid to provide improved skilled human resources at the primary health centres (PHCs) level through the mandatory yearly deployment of midwives after completion of Midwifery School to PHC facilities in all local government areas, including FCT and train them to enhance their performance in providing quality care as well as perform upward review of the number of admissions into Midwifery Schools.

As signatory to the MDGs, he noted that Nigeria was under obligation to adopt necessary strategies and measures to achieve MDGs 4 and 5, aimed at reducing maternal mortality ratio by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015 as well as reduce child morbidity by three quarters between 1990 and 2015.
He noted that the Midwives Service Scheme being “managed by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and funded by the MDGs Debt Relief Gains (DRG) based on a memorandum of understanding between federal, state and LGAs where the NPHCDA provides the midwives with a monthly allowance of N40,000, while the host state and LGAs provide a supplementary allowance and accommodation with the understanding that the midwives would be retained in the service of related states after two years of participation in the scheme and is renewable after the initial mandatory one year period.

“The House is concerned that considering the near-conclusion of the MDGs and pivotal contribution of the Midwives Service Scheme to the recently acclaimed success of Nigeria in meeting MDGs, particularly in the area of maternal mortality, over 3,600 participating Midwives in the scheme have not received their monthly allowances from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency since September 2014 as majority of the States and Local Governments have failed to meet their financial obligations to the scheme, and none of the Midwives have been retained by any of the State or LGAs.

“The House is further worried that despite pleas to forestall public protests and promises by the erstwhile Minister of Health through a communique to pay all outstanding allowances owed them by the States and LGAs by May 2015, the Midwives are yet to be paid, and are as a result of debts owed, undergoing great suffering.

“The House is worried that considering Nigeria’s daily losses through child and maternal deaths, the continued lack of payment and fulfilment of other obligations to Midwives under the Midwives Service Scheme will put millions of Nigerians at risk and erode the successes Nigeria had recorded in the achievement of MD goals 4 and 5, and he non-employment of these Midwives in a more permanent capacity will impact negatively on the sustainability of these achievements in line with current global focus on a progression to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To this end, the House urged the States and LGAs to without delay fulfil their obligations as provided for in the Midwives Service Scheme, as well ad commence the immediate rehabilitation and reaccreditation of Nursing and Midwifery Schools across the country.