Umuahia Hosts Inaugural Health Summit As Governor Otti Reaffirms Commitment To Citizens Healthcare

 

Abia State Governor, Dr Alex Otti has reaffirmed his commitment to prioritizing citizens’ healthcare needs, vowing to leave no stone unturned in addressing challenges in the state’s healthcare sector.

 

Governor Otti stated this while declaring open the First Council on Health Summit in Umuahia organized by the state Ministry of Health with the theme; “Providing an Accessible, Affordable And Quality Healthcare System For A New Abia”.


The Governor described the theme of the event as apt, and noted that it aligns with his adminstration’s cardinal objective of transforming the healthcare sector to enhance accessibility and affordability for citizens.

 

Otti who highlighted significant strides made by his administration in reshaping the healthcare sector, said government embarked on an extensive retrofitting and renovation initiative in healthcare facilities across the state while work is ongoing in 14 general hospitals spread across the three Senatorial Zones of the state.

He said; “I did promise that under my watch, the health of citizens of Abia state would come first and shall be considered a high priority.

“Consequent upon the above, we have started retrofitting and returning the healthcare facility in every part of the state. My adminstration has renovated and commissioned the general hospital in Amachara Umuahia and Abia state specialist and Diagnostic center also in Umuahia .Work is ongoing in the other 14 general hospitals across the state.

 

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“Presently, our government is strengthening and increasing the functionally of the primary healthcare ensuring that there are healthcare workers to mann such facilities across the state.

“It might interest you to know that I am personally involved in the primary healthcare leadership in Nigeria which the Nigerian Governor’s Forum pledged to support activities in the primary health centers. I make bold to say that basic healthcare programmes are thriving in Abia state”.

Governor Otti who announced the restoration of accreditation to the Abia State University Teaching Hospital,which had lost accreditation years ago, said the state government undertook rapid retrofitting of the institution, salary arrear payments among others which attracted quota increase into the institutions college of medicine to train house officers by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.

He emphasized his government’s dedication to health resource development,with plans to recruit skilled personnel and birth attendants to enhance healthcare service delivery,as well as revamping of the state’s health insurance scheme.

The Governor revealed that the ongoing efforts in digitalizing the Abia State civil service has exposed instances of absent staff who still receive remunerations and noted that those involved would face the full weight of the law.


Governor Otti assured citizens that his administration is aggressively tackling the “Japa Syndrome”, with the motivation of healthcare workers through timely payment of wages and improved welfare packages which he said would take off by next year.

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Also, the Minister of Health, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Abia State Ministry of Health, Dr. Ifenyinwa Uma-Kalu said the event was apt arising from the experience of Covid – 19 which exposed inadequacies of healthcare and the need to improve on it.

The Minister stressed the need for State governments to support the Federal government by providing necessary infrastructure in the healthcare system and congratulated the Abia State Governor on its resolve to renew the approach of healthcare system.

 

Delivering a keynote address,the Immediate past Director of Planning and Statistics, Federal Ministry of Health,Dr Ngozi Anazodo, stressed the need for functional healthcare system noting that successful healthcare delivery hinges on collaboration by the various stakeholders and appreciated Governor Otti for bringing back hope in Abia healthcare sector.

In her address, the Commissioner for Health Dr Ngozi Okoronkwo described the Summit as a demonstration of the commitment of the Governor Otti led administration to prioritizing developmental initiatives capable of unlocking the potential of Abia’s strategic human capital to fast -track the attainment of socio- economic development of the present administration.

Dr Okoronkwo said that the focus of stakeholders is to bestow on Abians a health system that meets the health needs of the people irrespective of socio-economic status, which will in turn put Abia on the path towards attaining universal Health Coverage for all in tandem with the concept of “The New Abia”.

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She noted that under the present administration various health institutions are being retrofitted, the state has also met Abuja declaration by allocating 15% of the 2024 budget estimate to the health sector while the proposal for the upward review of health workers emolument is currently receiving the attention of the Governor.

The event held at the International Conference Center Umuahia, featured goodwill messages from the representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), Caritas Nigeria, NACA among other critical stakeholders in the healthcare sector and Development Partners, was chaired by the Mayor of Ohafia LGA, Chief David Ogba Onuoha.