With his driving force predicated on the conviction that, the life of every single Akwa Ibom person is very precious and important, Governor Udom Emmanuel has left no stone unturned in the revamping of the health sector for effective healthcare delivery for the people of the state.
In addition to his free healthcare policy for children within the age bracket (0-5) years, pregnant women and the aged, Governor Udom Emmanuel has put in place institutional frameworks to coordinate and supervise effective healthcare services in the state, including: the Primary Healthcare Development Agency, the State Hospitals Management Board, HMB and the Ministry of Health, all with seasoned Health Professionals and Administrators at the helm of affairs.
The proactive intervention of Governor Udom Emmanuel in the health sector manifested right at the outset of his first term administration, when within his first100 days in office, undertook the rehabilitation of a foremost missionary health institution in the state capital – St. Luke’s hospital, Anua, for improved healthcare service for residents of the Uyo metropolis and its environs.
The rehabilitation exercise did not only give the hospital an aesthetic face-lift but provided the institution with state-of-the-art equipment and remodeled wards. The Governor reconstructed the Administrative block of the hospital, constructed the male and children wards and also constructed and equipped the gynecology ward, in honour of the renowned Irish Missionary who worked selflessly for the hospital, Dr. Ann Ward.
With the determination to ensure that at least one state-of-the-art health facility is reached within a driving span of one hour in each of the ten Federal Constituencies of the State, Governor Udom Emmanuel vigorously embarked on the remodeling, upgrading, and re-equipping of secondary heath institutions across the state for efficiency and accessibility.
To this end, Governor Udom Emmanuel undertook the upgrading, computerization and digitization of hospitals in the state towards effective healthcare delivery and ease of tracing of medical records of patients, as government is gearing towards networking all General Hospitals in the state. So far, seven General Hospitals have benefitted from the ongoing rehabilitation rennaisance in the health sector namely: General Hospital, Etinan, General Hospital, Ikot Okoro, General Hospital, Ikono, General Hospital, Ituk Mbang, General Hospital, Iquita, Oron, General Hospital, Awa and Immanuel General Hospital, Eket.
While commissioning the remodeled and reconstructed General Hospital, Etinan, on September 23, 2017, and in appreciation of the feat recorded by Governor Udom Emmanuel in the health sector, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo stated thus: “this is an extremely useful project, it is the type of project, I believe touches the lives of the people directly”. This indeed was a well placed remark in consideration of the state-of-the-art facilities procured for the hospital, towards efficient healthcare services for the people.
Worthy of mention is that, Governor Udom Emmanuel had procured 100 containers of state-of-the-art medical equipment for health institutions across the state, with 50 containers so far delivered. Among the procured state-of-the-art medical equipment include: electrocardiograph 3 Channels, colonoscopy (with halogen light), x-ray film processor, x-ray film viewer, gastroscope, operating theatre light (5-Spot light), operating table and anastasia trolley with ventilators. Others are: monitor, syringe pump, electro surgical units, monopolar-bipolar operating instruments, suction pump, CT Scanners as well as Surgical microscope for the eyes.
In addition to changing the fortunes of Secondary health institutions across the state, Governor Emmanuel also took a decisive step to reclaim and salvage the quaternary health institution in the state – the Ibom multi-Specialty Hospital, which did not only suffer from mis-management but needed some levels of completion work. To this end, the Governor did not only engage the services of expert consultants for the management of the health facility but has also equipped the institution with world class medical facilities as well as employ professionals in various specialised healthcare fields, who have worked assiduously in providing health care for patients on referrals and have also proved their mettle in containing the ongoing fight against the global ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
Worthy of mention is that, as a leader with foresight, Governor Udom Emmanuel had before the insurgence of the pandemic, constructed the Emergency Operations Center, EOC, at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Ikot Ekpene as well as procured the Oxygen Plant which have complemented the Ibom Multi-Specialty hospital in the care for COVID-19 cases. The big one in this regard, has been the construction of the record breaking 300-bed International Isolation Centre with inbuilt Molecular Virology Laboratory which has received global applause and commendation. The Laboratory with a Category 3 PCR Machine has since commenced the testing of COVID-19 cases, a feat that has been hailed by the World Health Organization, WHO and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC.
To further boost the health sector and enhance healthcare delivery, Governor Emmanuel approved the recruitment of over 250 Medical Doctors, 400 Nurses and 100 consultants, organize training for health workers with payments of handsome incentives. There has also been series of specialised training and certification for 100 healthworkers in Basic Lives Support and Advanced Cardiac Lives Support by Medical Energy Experts from the USA; Training of 20 Biomedical Engineers as well as approval for the payment of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) and CONHESS to medical and dental practitioners and nurses respectively.
With all these in place, it was therefore not surprising when Governor Udom Emmanuel came out convincingly to announce publicly that, COVID-19 did not meet Akwa Ibom State unprepared. And with the heights so far attained in containing the COVID-19 pandemic so far, including: scoring 99% in Contact tracing, recording only 2 deaths and being placed among the top 3 states in Nigeria in quick recovery rate of COVID-19 cases, then it is very clear that Governor Udom Emmanuel is scoring very high in healthcare delivery for the people.
The import of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s efficient healthcare delivery in the state is manifested in the reduction in child and maternal mortality, and most importantly, the catapulting of the state into a reference point in healthcare delivery and medical tourism.
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