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Soludo’s working the talk – Ezembaji



…Describes Anambra govt’s health program as great feat,

The health programme, ‘Solution Know Your Number’ launched by Governor Chukwuma Soludo has been attracting positive reactions from across the state. Some see it as trailblazing in the state health sector. In this discourse, a frontline industrialist and Chairman/CEO, Lake Petroleum Ltd, Chief C. U. Ezembaji says it’s unprecedented and a great feat in the all important sector . He spoke to RAY UDEAGBARA. Excerpts:

ON WHAT Solution Know Your Number implies; its significance to ndiAnambra.

  This vital health programme, “Solution Know Your Number” refers to two health challenges, two diseases that are both terminal in nature: diabetes and high blood pressure. Diabetes signifies high blood sugar and it has a particular level, 70-100 which is regarded as normal. Any number above these are seen as abnormal. Some people’s sugar level reads 100-150 or 200. Some even have up to 300 – 400 level. Here, the knowledge of one’s number is crucial; so crucial that doctors advise that those suffering from the disease, diabetes, whether type 1 or 2 should check their numbers often; some several times a day. The reason is clear. Higher level of the sickness could cause cardiovascular problem, at times stroke or necessitate amputation and in this very circumstance if not checked or  well treated, can cause instant death. Let me categorically state here that in Anambra State alone, this illness claims over 200 lives monthly. Statistics show that in Nigeria as a whole, over 80,000 people suffer from the disease. This disease is so terminal and dangerous that in advanced economies like United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada, to mention but a few, thousands suffer from it and in U.K alone, more than 8000. In these countries, highest death rate comes from the disease. From the lay man’s insight into the feature of the illness, one can easily see how dangerous it is and how devastating to life and our economy when you think of its terrible symptoms like extreme fatigue, weakness, tingling at the feet and even extreme thirst and blurred vision. All these symptoms inhibit one’s ability to work, thereby decreasing production. As I said earlier, today diabetes has no cure. Scientists, physicians and researchers are working assiduously to make headway here but cure is not yet in sight. An indebt analysis of the ailment explains why it is sometimes called a silent killer. Those at the grassroots, parents, farmers, market men and women die of the disease often not only because it has no cure but because these category don’t know how to manage it. It’s pertinent to know that with good management of the disease, you live your normal life and it is here that Governor Soludo’s health programme which I term ‘Wonder Solution Know Your Numbers ‘ comes in and plays vital role of saving hundreds of lives annually in Anambra. Patients of this deadly terminal sickness go to any general hospital in the state to get free medical treatment and to ensure this programme succeeds, 27 health personnel were employed by his government and posted to these hospitals to offer helping hands. From my observation, many patients with this blood sugar illness have been accessing treatment from these hospitals. This’s why I called the health programme when it was launched by the governor a great feat, and the launching itself unprecedented in the annals of health care delivery not only in Anambra State but also in the country. Diabetic’s drugs are very expensive, too exorbitant for many to access in non government –owned hospitals and pharmacies. In addition to giving these drugs free to patients, these health personnel check their numbers free and advise them on what to eat as the best cure comes from one’s diet like eating carbs, non-carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables,  and having enough water for hydration and physical exercise. Dividends of democracy does not imply only building roads, schools, halls, good transportation system and even the so called human capacity, as well as tourism centres. This ‘Solution Know Your Number’, to my mind, is the major dividends of democracy because it’s when we live that we enjoy the aforementioned amenities. So I commend our governor immensely for launching this health care programme which will save many lives in Anambra State. In fact, the programme is one of the greatest achievements of his administration so far.

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  Another terminal disease, silent killer which is as dangerous as diabetes is high blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension. This is a killer like high blood sugar and its level is measured. Normal level is 160/90. Any number above this is bad and killing. Many die of this disease both in advanced and in developing countries and it is not curable. Also, efforts are on to bring lasting cure but all to no avail. Without treatment, the illness could cause cardiac arrest, stroke and sudden death. Under ‘Solution Know Your Number’, patients are treated also free in our general hospitals. Their numbers are checked, measured free of charge and drugs also dispensed to them free. In the same vein, they receive medical advice free. High blood pressure drugs are equally expensive; in most cases beyond the reach of many. Here,  Soludo administration has brought succor, respite and we should be happy for that. It’s my candid belief that under this robust intervention in the health sector, ndiAnambra will be healthy, be more productive, particularly  our youths who are the future leaders and join hands to develop our state, contribute to transform it to a liveable and prosperous smart mega city where everyone will be happy, free, and enjoy enhanced economic wellbeing. A healthy nation is a wealthy nation. I have no doubt in my mind that in due course, other state chief executives’ will copy this model of healthcare delivery and the dangers of these two terminal diseases will be reduced to the barest minimum, our nation will be healthier and more productive.

  On what patients of these two terminal diseases will always do to better their health

  It’s not providing these vital healthcare services that matters. What matters most here is for people to queue into the system. Patients of these two killer diseases, diabetes and high blood pressure should be frequenting our general hospitals to access treatment especially now that Mr. Governor, Prof Chukwuma Charles Soludo has made it free. No one suffering from these illnesses should be ashamed to come out and present himself to the doctor. They should visit the hospital regularly, at least once weekly, especially to check and know their numbers which is the determinant of the level/degree of the sickness in them. They should see constant checks as a duty because in all we do, health is first. They must constantly avail themselves of this noble opportunity. Not everyone has access to radio and TV sets, so those who get this information should spread it to others especially those living in the hinterlands to be aware of the offer. Everyone, both men and women, young and old and those suffering from the ailments should be co-operative, offer helping hand to others. This is a great opportunity to save lives, opportunity we’ve never seen before. While we are waiting for the outcome of the efforts of researchers to find lasting cure to the ailments, we must utilise this offer given to us freely by an administration that means well for its citizens. This is why the present state government has been hammering on the need for people to exercise their civic duties, pay their taxes and levies. We must do this. This kind of health programme engulfs huge sums of money and it’s from these taxes and levies, and whatever meager fund that comes from the federal allocation that government provides all these amenities. It should be noted that government intervention in the health sector is not limited to the two diseases; high blood pressure and diabeties. Since the inception of this administration in March, last year, we have seen giant strides in the health sector generally like boosting the Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA) for more efficient service delivery and better equipment of our general hospitals with necessary medical facilities and drugs. Out of stock syndrome (OSS) is no more experienced in these hospitals and the staff now show greater dedication to duty. This health programme, ‘Solution Know Your Numbers’is quite beneficial, especially at this dire period of our nation’s gloomy economic history but government must create awareness of the programme to enable residents in the rural areas of our state, hard-to-reach locations avail themselves of the enormous opportunities it provides. Such important life-saving health facility, programme should be enjoyed by as many as possible, not just a few.

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  On the general appraisal of this administration’s strides on good governance in other key sectors of the state economy

  To the best of my understanding, the Soludo-led administration has so far exhibited unequalled commitment to achieving its set goals, particularly the primary one of transforming the state to a liveable and prosperous mega smart city. Here in the state, we have witnessed a unique style of leadership. This very government has brought scholarship to be in governance with innovations in various sectors. We also see efforts of the administration on road infrastructure; many roads, over 265 already flagged-off for construction in every local government area of the state and at the same time, opening the hinterlands to quality roads. All the hitherto inaccessible areas are being connected under Soludo administration’s road project. It’s ushering in a new phase of development in the state; turning the state to a construction site. Here in Anambra, we’ve seen the implementation of a Social Protection Policy, a government programme intended to manage risks and volatility, protect the citizens from poverty and inequality and help them to access economic opportunities. This government believes in the ability of the youth to bring holistic development of the state. It agrees that youth empowerment is the only veritable means to create opportunities for young people to fully harness their potentials, and here, ‘The One Youth Two Skills Scheme’ is in progress. About 5000 youths have already queued into the programme and government has called for collective effort in the development of Anambra. This very administration recognises the importance of human capacity development for effective and efficient service delivery. It also believes in production instead of consumption economy and is working hard, in fact, assiduously to reposition oil palm to its pride of place. After all, agriculture was the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy before the advent of oil and gas. Its fight against unemployment is total and with all hands on deck, soon joblessness will be a thing of the past in our state. Peace and security is crucial for socio/economic growth and the Soludo leadership is leaving no stone unturned to see that Anambra remains peaceful. Fund is necessary for development and to ensure its availability, the government has restructured the state revenue generation process. There is one remarkable feature of the present government approach to youth empowerment. Its human capital development is one that’ll be productive at home and exportable abroad. This human capital development is a strong base for the socio-economic advancement of any nation. To buttress the importance of human capital, Governor Soludoorganised and hosted a South-East Conference on human capital development in Awka. Again he announced that 10,000 youths will be trained on digital skills. When this training is completed, youth employment will receive a great boost in the state. The priority of this administration is security and law and order. This is so because all sectors are anchored on security and we’ve seen how relentlessly he’s working to restore peace to the state. To grow the state economy, the Soludo administration is sharing sustainable poverty alleviation strategy which includes coconut and palm oil seedlings. Poor families with 20 of these will be out of poverty within three to four years when these trees begin to grow. In the administration’s road construction programme, most of the roads are Q and A which stands for quality and assurance, according to the Works Commissioner, IfeanyiOkoma. While flagging off IgweEzechi road at Dunukofia, the governor projected the siting of an Export Emporium within the town as part of his government plans to grow the state economy. In fact, this government is working round the clock to deliver on its mandate of enthroning Anambra as an alpha state, a world class state. Recall how the governor promised to intervene in the local governments of Anambra West, Anambra North and Ogbaru, which have the worst roads and how work has since commenced there. In all his acts of governance, we see his administration is working the talk. With his committees and boards and the caliber of members, Governor Soludo is successfully creating the enabling environment to boost investment confidence in Anambra State.

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  In fact, this administration has raised the bar of governance in the state, introducing various innovations, embarking on multi-sectoral development and at the same time, creating numerous employment windows, particularity for our youths.

  From what is on ground today in Anambra in terms of governance,  there is bright future. The administration’s mission of transforming the state to a liveable prosperous homeland is achievable. Let us all lend support to this government and wait to see a better tomorrow.

NdiAchina voted massively for Prof. Soludo during the election for we believe he has the capacity to deliver. On behalf of Achina community, I renew my appeal to him to come to our aid by rehabilitating the dilapidated Achina-Mbaloye-Akukwa-Uchuchu road. We shall remain grateful to him for this.

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