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The Governor of Abia State, Alex Otti has reaffirmed his commitment to enhance the health of Abians through conscious and deliberate improvement of access to quality and affordable healthcare in the state.
Otti remarked on Wednesday in Umuahia, when he formally reopened the renovated and rehabilitated Abia State General Hospital, Amachara, near Umuahia.
In order to fully restore the state-owned primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare institutions in the state to optimal operation, he indicated the administration’s readiness to do so.
The governor stated that the necessity to guarantee that the populace have access to high-quality healthcare in their local villages in a way that nobody would have to travel outside of Abia for medical issues prompted his pledge.
He said that the government was focused on reducing the burden of diseases in the state ‘through the provision of resources for the implementation of appropriate strategies and multi-disciplinary intervention to improve population health’.
Otti described the rehabilitation of the hospital as a strategic move by the government to restore the confidence of the people in public health institutions.
He said, ‘The achievement of improved healthcare delivery in Abia is significant to the overall development agenda of this administration, which is primarily aimed at improving the welfare of the people.’
According to him, a healthy population remains the prime asset of any government.
He promised that ‘under my watch, the health of the citizens will come first and be considered a higher priority’.
Otti said that the government had instituted a mechanism that would ensure that an effective maintenance culture was enthroned in the health sector, especially in the management of health facilities.
He also said that plans were underway to set up a holistic mechanism for sanitising drug distribution in the state.
‘We are rolling out strategic initiatives to control fake and substandard drugs and guarantee that drugs come into the state from a reliable source, known for standard and effective products,’ Otti said.
He said that the government would prioritise the welfare of health personnel by ensuring that their salaries and legitimate entitlements would be paid as and when due, and called for improved relationships between health workers and patients.
He said that the government and the leadership of health unions had engaged in discussions on how to come up with better incentives for hardworking health workers.
‘We believe it will not only reduce the ‘Japa Syndrome’, but attract healthcare professionals, who are currently abroad,’ he said.
Otti urged various communities in the state to take ownership of any government facilities in their locality to prevent vandalism.
He warned that anyone caught vandalising government property would be made to feel the full weight of the law.
In an address, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ngozi Okoronkwo, said that the rehabilitation of the hospital was an indication that the reforms in the health sector would produce a better healthcare system in Abia.
‘The first time I visited this hospital, I was in tears because of how dilapidated the hospital was and the doctors were on strike.
‘I began to imagine all that patients that visit the hospital have to go through to access healthcare services.
‘Today the story has changed as the present administration has rehabilitated the hospital and equipped it with state-of-the-art equipment for the provision of quality healthcare services.
‘We are just getting started with our plans for the health sector and as we roll out our plans, before the end of the first year of this administration you will see a truly transformed health sector,’ Okoronkwo further said.
Earlier, the Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Francis Agu, commended the government for the massive reforms that had so far been executed in the health sector.
Agu said that the reforms had yielded a significant improvement in the delivery of healthcare services in the state.