…Upgrading health facilities
…Mounting frantic campaign against malaria
AS ONE of the top basic needs for human lives in every society, Anambra State Government has begun to invest more in adequate health care service delivery and facilities in various health sectors knowing fully well that good health is central to human happiness and well-being that contribute significantly to prosperity and economic progress.
It is obvious that Anambra has recorded some health benefits just within 100 days in office of the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Professor Chukwuma Soludo.
In an interview with National Light reporter, the Commissioners for Health, Dr Obidike Afam stated numerous achievements in the state health sector, especially in different aspects that health should be strengthened such as infrastructure, service delivery, human resource for health and drugs, assuring the determination of the governor towards securing healthy lives of ndiAnambra regardless of challenges facing the state in terms of paucity of fund, insecurity challenges, among others.
He said: “In all these, the main thing that has increased the outcome of the health system is service delivery and the area of human resources which is the area the governor has done so well. The positive impact has been across the various health sectors such as the primary health centers, general hospitals and teaching hospitals.”
While pointing some analysis made so far, Obidike stressed that there was a serious gap in terms of human resources for health which left about 19 general hospitals with no single doctor while 14 have just single doctors that led to inadequate service delivery to people of the state, adding that it has attracted the attention of the governor to declare massive employment after the long period of such exercise in 2013.
“People have finished applying for the job and will soon commence the interview by next month. We will employ 10 consultants, 46 medical officers, on138 nurses, medical lab scientists, 10 pharmacy technicians and five radiographers, which is a very big achievement. Whatever we are doing is in line with the agenda of the governor which is ‘the Bandage we have with Anambra State’ and also the Vision 2070 to attract good working environment such as having the resources, modern equipment to do work, retain, pay and retraining them to meet with their counterparts in the federal level. We have had accreditation for surgery so that our doctors will become specialists.”
Furthermore, Obidike said the government has introduced Drug Quality Assurance Laboratory Center where four persons have been sent for training at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Amaku, Awka, and also the University of Nigeria Nsukka, to ensure the standard of any given drug, noting that four pharmacists are presently undergoing the training at Amaku, where the laboratory center has been situated to prove to people that the drug they consume is of great standard and quality in order to help to reposition the state to a better height towards distribution of the pharmaceutical ecosystem plan of the governor to a manufacturing hub.
“We have been able to start what is called Drug Revolving Fund which is a means of making drug available to every part of the government owned hospitals at an affordable price, as well as onboarded up to 15 facilities involving some other primary health care centers due to our inability to have the basic drugs needed to treat people in the state.
“When we came on board, we noticed that OgboOgwu Market was closed down in 2007, for three months as a result of some activities going on there and expected to be relocated to Oba, with approval of the Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC and Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria in August 2016,due to the open chaotic and unregulated nature of the area then. It was neglected due to political tussle or selfish interest.
“Today, Governor Soludo within his three months in office, has relocated the market as inspected and approved by then Minister of Affairs, Isaac Adewale. It is one of the major milestone achievements in the health system and within the country. We also established the Anambra State Health Facility Accreditation Monitoring Agency (ASHAFEMA), through the Attorney General, Mr Governor and State House of Assembly to ensure health tourism by accrediting all the onboarded hospitals in the platform within two months. This will help us to have in details, the qualified medical personnel and hospitals that have meet up with the criteria according to their level of profession. The advantage of this is that they will generate data for us each time we monitor their activities.
“It will also help to eliminate fake and substandard drugs including the bad name OgboOgwu is known for. We are targeting to have about 200 hectares to get onboard while many people have started declaring interests towards the manufacturing hub as such alone will create massive employment in the health sector” he said.
Other projects highlighted by the commissioner include the approval of Anambra State Emergency Service and Ambulance System to the Ministry of Health as directed by the governor, which has been given serious consideration that Anambra will be one of the five states that will benefit from it through the National Health Act.
Speaking further on infrastructure, Obidike said that despite the short recorded period of the new administration, the government has been able to provide modern laboratory equipment to hospitals, upgrade and opened some of the subspecialty areas that are not functioning such as activation of dental section at General Hospital, Umueri, Ekwulobia and Enugwu-Ukwu; improved laboratory services at General Hospital, Nnobi and Agulu, giving proper orientation to restrict some bad attitudes of staff to work and most importantly, formed a task force that will be monitoring the hospitals in terms of any misconduct or failure to go to work.
“That is why we visited more than half of the general hospitals unscheduled, including Amaku, where we did service delivery auditing immediately. The General Hospital, Onitsha, is open for multi specialists such as Endoscopy suit, colonoscopy, and suprep colonoscopy at 60 per cent discount rate in order to provide adequate health service delivery to people who may think that going outside the state or country for such medical attention is their only option. We have worked closely with the Ministry of Agriculture to make sure that dogs are vaccinated while in conjunction with Carter Center, we will ensure that anti rabies vaccines are made available in most of the general hospitals. However, the distribution of 3.9million insecticide treated mosquito nets will commence early next month as the state government has it in plan that every two persons in each household will obtain a net to eliminate malaria.
“As a result of this also, Mr Governor has ensured that stagnant water and waste are being disposed. Other ongoing projects include the 80 per cent completed Molecular Lab at Amaku. In partnership with World Health Organisation and UNICEF, we conquered measles outbreak when we resumed office which claimed up to 15 lives in thirteen council areas.”
He also recalled that during the one year in office of the Chief Medical Director of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Amaku Awka, Dr. Joe Akabuike, he listed many achievements recorded in the hospital so far, stressing that it is the only tertiary institution of the state and one of the best hospitals in the country.
Obidike further assured rapid response and growth in the health sector and enjoined ndi Anambra to support the state government to achieve more success.
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