Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Government has commenced the payment of N3,000 to pregnant women in the Safe Motherhood Scheme to stem the tide of maternal and infant mortality.
The scheme has attracted applause from a cross-section of Nigerians including Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State and a former Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Kabiru Tanimu Turaki.
Governor Okowa, who launched the scheme and presented the stipends to some of the pregnant women, as the Special Guest of Honour during the occasion, commended Governor Dickson for setting a very high marks in governance marks in governance worthy of emulation by their colleagues.
Governor Okowa applauded his Bayelsa State counterpart for recognising the place of mothers in society, stressing that paying special attention to women would go a long way to building a healthy family and nation.
While encouraging mothers to take advantage of the initiative, he, however, cautioned them on the need to imbibe the practice of birth spacing for the sake of their health and general well being of the family.
Governor Dickson, in his remarks, said the scheme would outlive his administration as appropriate measures, such as the Health Insurance Scheme and medical health facilities, had been provided across the 105 wards in the state to cater to the needs of people in the hinterlands.
On his part, Alhaji Turaki, who is a former presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), noted that besides building institutions and physical infrastructure, Dickson had also demonstrated passion for people-oriented programmes such as the Safe Motherhood Scheme.
Also speaking, wife of the governor, Dr. Rachel Dickson, congratulated her husband for carrying women along in his administration as evident in the unprecedented number of political appointments for women, promotion of the girl-child education and special care for mothers and children.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu, commended the governor for taking the bold step in introducing various health programmes in the struggle to promote healthy living.