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Edo brings healthcare to frontburner

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Edo State is reforming its healthcare infrastructure in efforts to provide quality medicare services seen as part ot the human development, reports, Ambrose Nnaji


EDO State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has identified healthcare as a critical part of human capital development, and has resolved to give it the deserved attention. In this regard,  he is directing attention to reforming the health sector considered by expert as not only being in the right direction, but timely.

The Governor is currently deploying a reformist approach aimed at transforming the state’s healthcare sector. This is evident in the series of interventions under the Edo Healthcare Improvement Programme (Edo-HIP), which has kicked off with the rebuilding of 20 Primary Healthcare Centers across the state’s 18 Local Government Areas.

Obaseki in October, launched the Edo State Social Health Insurance/Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) as well as revamped Primary Healthcare Centers under the Edo- Primary Health Improvement Programme.

The state had made an initial contribution of N100million to access the BHCPF, opening up opportunities to energise its health insurance programme. All of these tie up to an organic whole of a systemic plan to retool the primary healthcare system to be able to meet the needs of ordinary Edo people.

At the launch of the scheme, Obaseki said his focus will be to improve the lives of the people through good education and provision of basic healthcare services accessible to all Edo people and residents.

He said the administration was out to provide accessible and affordable healthcare services to residents of the state, adding that his administration’s attention will be on human capacity development through provision of robust basic education and quality healthcare.

“Our emphasis and the bulk of money that accrue to the state is dedicated to improve the lives of the people of Edo State through quality health and education. We are spending more than 50 per cent of our recurrent expenditure on healthcare and education.

“Edo Health Improvement Programme (Edo-HIP) will enable us to deal with health challenges in the state, meaning  a total revamp of our entire health system from basic to secondary and specialist care. Edo-HIP is comprehensive,” he added.

He said his administration is to establish 230 PHCs across Edo State as the centers will serve as referral centers, noting, “You will not be attended to in General Hospitals without referral from your PHCs.”

On training and support for health officials, Obaseki said, “We have put in Information Communication Technology (ICT) to help capture information and pass it to a central database. The information gathered will be used for referrals. All over the world, healthcare services are not cheap but affordable, which is achieved by pulling resources together.

“We have established a Health Insurance Agency in Edo State backed by law for every citizen, as its now compulsory for every Edo citizen to have health insurance. You will be given a card that will enable you access healthcare in the state provided you are enrolled. For the civil servant and local government workers in Edo State, they will be compulsorily enrolled into the scheme from 1st January 2020. Finance will not hold citizens back from getting healthcare.”

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire  said that the BHCPF will commit N573m to enable Edo people to benefit from essential services after the details are worked out and the healthcare system begins to function, adding, “The fund is disbursed to states equitably and on per capital basis using a poverty index determined by the World Bank.

“This will guarantee that the BHCPF will reach the deserving population and reduce inequality in access to health services, particularly by the vulnerable. Public Health Emergencies and other emergency medical services shall also be addressed through the fund.”

Dr Ehanire said “the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is committed to its mandate of improving the health and productivity of Nigerians in its commitment to human capital development, consistent with national goals in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). His desire is to lift 100 million Nigeria out of poverty in the next 10 years.”

Campaign against Lassa Fever

One-way Governor Obaseki is confronting the challenges in the health sector is the swift response to public health emergency, especially in keeping the Lassa Fever disease at bay.

The governor came to the rescue of a federal institution, the Irrua Specialist Hospital when Lassa Fever was ravaging some states in the country with the procurement and supply of health facilities required to halt the spread of the scourge.

The Edo State Government under Governor Obaseki established a new Lassa fever treatment centre in Benin City, the state capital, to make treatment of the disease more accessible to the people, while planning is ongoing to build another treatment centre in Auchi to carter for patients in Edo North Senatorial District.

A former state Commissioner for Health, Dr. David Osifo, said the idea in setting up the treatment centre in Benin was to decongest the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) which offers treatment for the disease, with the Benin treatment centre located at the Stella Obasanjo Hospital, equipped to handle most of the Lassa Fever cases in Edo South.

He explained, “We have built another centre at Stella Obasanjo centre to make treatment more accessible to the people because Irrua is far from town. We are building another one in Auchi in Edo North and it will be completed soon. We plan to duplicate the equipment we have in ISTH at the Auchi treatment centre. This means that each of the three senatorial districts in Edo will have a treatment centre.

Osifo said by the time the state government put all these facilities in place, the high mortality rate in the state will drop with the state government expending over N100 million for the procurement of equipment for the control and treatment of Lassa fever at the ISTH in 2019. The amount was used to procure two dialysis machines, mobile x-ray machine, ventilator, personal protective equipment and drugs.

The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) commended Governor Obaseki for his administration’s timely interventions and support which contributed to the drastic reduction in the rate of spread of the disease in the state in 2019.


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