The Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA) has partnered with PharmAccess Foundation to launch ‘MOMCARE’ as part of efforts to reduce maternal death in the State.

Speaking at the launch ceremony held at The Providence, Ikeja, the Board Chairman of LASHMA, Dr. Adetokunbo Alakija, stated that with ‘MOMCARE’, maternal death during pregnancy and delivery would be reduced to the barest minimum in Lagos.

He said that pregnant women in the State, including the vulnerable, would receive quality medical care right from conception to delivery, explaining that the Agency would serve as the institutional home of the project while initial beneficiaries will be pregnant women enrolled on the Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS).

Dr. Alakija commended the Lagos State Government, PharmAccess Foundation and Merck Sharp Dohme (MSD) for Mothers, financiers of the project, for the initiative and promised that the Agency will continue to provide affordable and quality healthcare to residents of the State.

He also called on other international agencies, donors and organisations to emulate MSD for Mothers and support LASHMA on the treatment of HIV-AIDS and tuberculosis, among others.

The General Manager, LASHMA, Dr. Emmanuella Zamba, in her remarks said that the partnership is a welcome development for the Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS) enrollees, especially pregnant women, adding that the success of the pilot programme in the six chosen facilities will determine the expansion to more facilities in the nearest future.

While noting that the Agency will not hesitate to accommodate any programme aimed at improving the health of Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS) enrollees, Dr. Zamba appealed to residents who have not subscribed to the Scheme to do so immediately in order to enjoy the benefits.

Speaking earlier, the Director of Merck Sharp Dohme (MSD) for Mothers, Nigeria, Mrs. Iyadunni Olubode, said that her organisation funded the programme because thousands of women in Nigeria still die from easily preventable health conditions due to lack of access to quality maternal care.

She said that the high rate of death of Nigerian women from pregnancy-related issues is worrisome, as this is not the norm in other parts of the world, noting that safe delivery is a fundamental right of every Nigerian woman and calling for joint efforts to reduce maternal death to the bearest minimum.

In her contribution, the Country Director, PharmAccess Foundation, Ndidi Njide, said that the ‘MOMCARE’ programme is designed to improve mothers’ joy from conception to pregnancy and delivery.

She averred that maternal deaths occurred as a result of child delivery outside health facilities, even though such mothers attended antenatal care, adding that access to care and affordability are among other reasons why maternal deaths increased in Nigeria.

While disclosing that the pilot scheme would commence in six public and private health facilities in the State and, subsequently, expanded to 15 health facilities by the end of year 2021, she applauded the Lagos State Government for approving the programme for integration into the existing Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS) handled by the Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA).

‘MOMCARE’ is an innovative, digital and interactive financing approach to strengthening maternal and newborn healthcare as well as enhancing family enrollment on the Lagos State Health Scheme (LSHS).

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