THERE have been global paradigm shifts in Healthcare service delivery over the years. Since the advent of primary health care in 1978, the concept of reproductive health has evolved from an earlier global policy focus on fertility control and family planning prior to the 1990s to a wider scope embracing broader health and social contexts at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994,
a scope which continues to expand today, several key components have been added to the concept of reproductive health which include: family planning; maternal and newborn health care; prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV; adolescent sexual and reproductive health; cancer screening; and infertility counseling.
In 1917, Lagos passed the public health ordinance, a series of health regulations to improve sanitation in the city. However, implementation of the rules was hampered by the limited amount of trained personnel.
First African Assistant Medical officer of Health, Isaac Oluwole, then founded the first School of Hygiene in Nigeria, at Yaba, Lagos, providing training to Sanitary Inspectors from all parts of Nigeria. On graduation they obtained the Diploma of the Royal Institute of Public Health, London.
He re-organised sanitary inspection procedures in the port of Lagos to control the spread of bubonic plague. He also set up the West African board of the Royal Society of Health that became the foundation of standards of public health in Nigeria.
Since the creation of Anambra in 1991, the health sector was nothing to write home about, most general hospitals lack facilities for treatment, no adequate manpower and hospitals was in shambles but today, the story has changed.
The sector can be described as one of the best in the country presently as the current administration has continue to reiterate that healthcare delivery remains top priority in his blue print resulting to massive achievements in the sector through efforts of the government. About 500 out of over 700 primary healthcare centers have been revamped, through Partnering with mission hospitals, many have been refurbished as well as reconstruction of specialist hospitals across the State.
Over years, the Dr Willie Obiano administration has worked assiduously in giving health facilities in the state a facelift, most government hospitals across the state have undergone infrastructural developments, especially upgrade of general hospitals and PHCs as well as its refurbishment, the sector is witnessing rapid turnaround, ranging from Anambra Health Insurance Scheme (ANHIS), Anambra State Primary Health Care Policy, Immunisation among others, as this has led to their endorsement by WHO and EU.
According to the WHO, coordinator for the State, Dr. Chukwumuanya Igboekwu, Anambra State health templates have been responsive and effective from its primary to tertiary spheres. With funding from EU it will help to further strengthen the state healthcare system and afford more people with efficient services.
Commenting on efforts embarked on, in achieving this great feat, Commissioner for health, Dr. Vincent Okpala stated that data generated from the EU scoping mission in 2017 has helped the state to establish the health finance policy and that through the data , the ministry was able to develop the adoptive model of health insurance.
The state government recently inaugurated newly reconstructed Immaculate Heart Multi Specialty Hospital, Aguleri, a multi-million naira hospital owned by the Catholic Diocese of Onitsha, in partnership with Anambra State Government.
It was upgraded and re-equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to meet the present health challenges facing Ndi Anambra residing in that area.
The governor has continue to state his resolve to ensure that adequate healthcare facilities would be available for the people.
“We are also upgrading general hospitals across the three senatorial zones as they are currently at various stages of completion.
“The Onitsha General Hospital is currently 90 per cent, Enugwu Ukwu, 60 per cent and Ekwulobia, about 45 per cent completed.
“We have procured eight water ambulances and speed boats in addition to other necessary facilities that will facilitate evacuation of persons to areas where they could obtain medical help.
“I still encourage you to register with the Anambra Health Insurance Scheme for easy access to quality healthcare,” Gov. Obiano said.
Similarly, services available at Immaculate Heart are Pediatric care, Cardiology, Accident and Emergency, Ophthalmology, Obstetrics, Orthopedic, General Surgery and Ante-natal services.
Others are Gynecology, X-ray, Ultra Sound, Medical and ENT services, laboratory and blood banking.
The hospital has 120 beds and an ambulance. It is currently sited on 15 hectares of land. It has accommodation for Doctor’s Quarters and ample space as parking lot.
It was then operated by the Holy Rosary Sisters, who worked with Bishop Shanahan, the first Bishop of Onitsha Archdiocese from 1950.
The hospital currently has not less than eight consultants and six medical officers, bringing the number of medical practitioners in the hospital to 14.
He noted that the inauguration of the state-of-the-art hospital at Aguleri, Anambra East Local Government Area (LGA) has demonstrated government’s determination in delivering functional healthcare system in the state.
“Although the multi-million naira hospital is owned by the Onitsha Catholic Archdiocese but government partnered them to ensure they meet our standard in the health sector services.”
The commissioner said the partnership yielded fruits because people from four major LGAs, Ayamelum, Oyi, Anambra East and Anambra West would receive quality healthcare services from the magnificent facility at their doorstep.
“The objective of the government is to lay strong foundation stone for medical tourism in the state and our achievement in the health sector has shown that we mean business.
“Our expectation is that within the next six months people from Sokoto, Borno States and other South East states will come to patronise the hospital. They will not regret this,” he explained.
However, Executive Director, Anambra State Primary Health Development Agency, Chioma Ezenyimulu noted that Anambra State has not recorded any case of wild polio virus for more than 14 years, due to its keen participation in activities aimed at sustaining the interruption of polio transmission, the federal government endorsed, the Anambra State Primary Health Care Policy template and this is remarkable in the health sector.
On her part, Executive Director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib. Commended the state government for working assiduously towards revitalizing the sector and improving the health of the people, noting that Anambra stands far ahead of other states, particularly in the area of immunization and disease tracking, lauding governor Obiano for revamping 63 PHCs.
“Gov. Willie Obiano has made progress in the Health Sector. Health being one of the Enablers is basic in Gov. Willie Obiano’s Four Pillars of Development. He has added new units to the Onitsha General Hospital and built a helipad for air ambulances for emergency cases.
He has also built several blocks of houses that will serve as Isolation Units in cases of epidemics. The complex has been designated as the Centre for Tropical Disease Control. In addition, he is in partnership with the Rise Health Incorporation of America to strengthen rural health delivery in the state.
The partnership gave birth to a specialist outfit known as the Anambra Business Coalition (ABC) through which the Orumba General Hospital has been refurbished and re-equipped to deliver a world class medical service to the people of Orumba North and South.
The ABC has also set up an ultramodern Rise Clinic in Adazi Ani and Onitsha respectively to offer quality healthcare to the people. Ossamola General Hospital Ogbaru will be given a similar attention this year. Meanwhile, Gov. Willie Obiano has set machinery in motion to ensure the provision of a comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme for Ndi Anambra.
Recently, Governor Willie Obiano inaugurated Anambra State Medical Oxygen Production Plant, sited within the premises of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Amaku, Awka. The oxygen plant has the capacity to produce 200 cylinders per day and can service hospitals in the State and the entire South East region.
While inaugurating the plant, Governor Obiano directed that initial cylinders be distributed to all government hospitals and primary healthcare centers across the State free of cost.
Chief medical officer in charge of Enugu-Ukwu General Hospital, William Onwuocha, has expressed delight and happiness that Anambra State has at last, got a governor who is not only sensitive and responsive to public outcries for good governance but has improved the health sector .
Dr Onwuocha identified building of a mighty edifice in hospitals, supply of drug to every government hospital in the state, provision of gainful employment to ndi Anambra, particularly the physically challenged persons, good road networks, supply of empowerment vehicles and payment of salaries, among others , which he described to be major achievements of the governor.
Congratulating the state at 28years, a resident in Awka , Godwin Ejikeme, commended efforts made so far in improving health of the people, that many positive changes is ongoing in the sector and hope it will continue to improve as there are still more work to be done in bringing healthcare services closer to indigents people especially those at the riverine areas.