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The Enugu State Government is currently constructing new 260-type 2 primary healthcare clinics throughout the state as part of efforts to enhance healthcare delivery and bring healthcare services closer to the people, The Eastern Updates has learnt.
The state governor, Dr. Peter Mbah made this known when he received in audience the Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Tunji Alausa, who paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Enugu.
He said the state government had taken significant steps at improving the healthcare sector, which would ensure increased access to quality healthcare facilities by residents across the state regardless of financial status.
Governor Mbah, who further noted that innovative measures were being taken by his administration to transform the healthcare sector, expressed delight over the federal government’s interest in efforts of the subnationals to build a robust and resilient system.
‘I am glad that this present federal government is recognising the roles the states play to achieve their health indicators, those targets that we have, whether it’s maternal or infant mortality rate, it won’t happen from top-to-bottom, it’s going to happen from bottom-to-top.
“We are doing some aggressive things also in collaboration with the federal government. We are currently constructing brand new 260-type 2 primary healthcare centres in the 260 wards of the state.
‘Just like yourself, when we came in, we recognised that we couldn’t craft an excellent strategy. We were not able to obtain enough data, so, we immediately sent forth and gathered data to enable us plan and be able to tackle, and identify the gaps we have across different strata of our healthcare system, whether in the primary, secondary, or tertiary healthcare system,’ Governor Mbah added.
According to him, the administration had already identified deficits in infrastructure, shortage of personnel or workforce, among other factors, as the major challenges facing productivity in the health sector in the state, saying the government was stepping up efforts to use technology and its already designed developmental template to address the problems and make the system not only attractive but also effective, efficient and functional.
‘We have also a robust developmental plan to address the issues of fees. As we are dealing with the infrastructural deficits that we have identified, we also know that we have the same deficits in manpower, and just few minutes ago, before you arrived, we were already handling some tension with resident doctors who were also concerned that the lack of manpower was also affecting their productivity, and something needed to be done in that regard.
“We are also glad that technology has a role to play. We welcome also with delight the news about how we can grow the number of manpower we are producing, at least double the manpower we are producing in the country. That is indeed, heartwarming,” he said.
The governor, however, lamented the mass exodus of medical personnel from the country in pursuit of greener pastures abroad saying, ‘It is really a challenge, this japa syndrome. I don’t think there is anywhere, any sector that has suffered the most as the medical sector in terms of the migration syndrome. So, I am glad that the federal government is rising to the occasion. They are taking steps to ensure that we raise more medical professionals.
‘We are sure that is one way to go, working assiduously in the area of technology, looking at telemedicine and how we will be able to get the data we are gathering, so that we can have health reports, the electronic health reports of patients.’
Speaking further on the Universal Healthcare Coverage, the governor said, ‘That is an area we have been working with the federal government to ensure that, even before the enactment of National Health Insurance Act, we already had our own state health insurance law. We started the implementation of Universal Healthcare Coverage, and that is still in progress. Our aim is to ensure that everybody here in Enugu has access to quality healthcare.’
Earlier, the minister had told the governor that he was in Enugu to witness the graduation of students of Federal School of Dental Technology, Enugu, disclosing that the institution is in affiliation with the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, and now a degree-awarding institution. ‘Today, they have over 2000 students in that school. They will be graduating about 300 students on Thursday. Besides that, they had built a lot of capacity. It’s actually the model we are using for all other institutions of ours. We did a lot of diagnoses to know what needed to be done.’
He assured that despite the difficulty in the healthcare sector, the President had concluded plans to revamp the sector.