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Why We’re Investing So Much in Healthcare- Gov Mbah


… Says Enugu to construct 260 PHCs, do more on universal health insurance coverage

…As UNICEF commends Mbah’s commitment to health, nutrition, pledges support

Governor of Enugu of State, Dr. Peter Mbah, says his administration has prioritised healthcare delivery, as it understands the import of a healthy population and healthy workforce.

Mbah, who said that the administration was in the process of constructing 260 primary healthcare centers (PHCs) in all the electoral wards and also ensure that every local government area got at least one world class secondary health facility, vowed that his administration would not relent until every child, mother, the elderly and Enugu citizen has access to better healthcare.

This was even as UNICEF commended the Governor Mbah administration’s commitment to healthcare and nutrition.

Mbah stated this at the weekend during an inspection tour of a primary health centre at Ogononoeji Ndiuno, Akpugo, Nkanu West LGA, where he also interacted with health workers and community leaders towards primary healthcare improvement.

“Healthcare is at the core of what we do in Enugu State. Indeed, outside education in our social services sector, the next sector that is taking the largest part of our 2024 budget is healthcare.

“It is so because we understand the importance of having a healthy society and indeed a healthy workforce. And in that hierarchy of healthcare, we see the primary healthcare as the most important.”

Mbah said that it was for this reason that the administration had undertaken a thorough study of the challenges in the primary healthcare space “to have reliable data to craft adequate strategy to address them”, adding that the administration had since swung into action.

“That is why, as you must have heard from the Commissioner for Health, we are going to be developing 260 world class Type-2 primary healthcare centres across the entire wards in Enugu State.

“Our strategy in that area is that rather than spread ourselves thinly across 557 Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs),, we want to focus on consolidating our resources and developing 260 world class Type-2 PHCs because we want to provide 24-hour services in each PHC so that at any time, you would have access to quality primary health care in our rural communities across the state”, he stated.

Governor Mbah also explained that the administration was already addressing the state’s poor health workforce density, while equally paying attention to secondary healthcare.

“As part of our strategies, we are upgrading our nursing schools to colleges so that we can have more intakes and have more nurses and community health extension workers trained to man our PHC facilities.

“And as we are at the same time paying attention to secondary healthcare facilities. Our objective is to ensure that each local government gets a minimum of one world class secondary healthcare facility.

“Part of our strategy is also to deploy technology. We have now started the process of capturing, in an electronic form, all the reports of those that have access to the healthcare system so that we can have an electronic health management system.”

He harped on the need to bring more Enugu citizens under the universal health insurance coverage, saying it was cheaper and reliable.

“We are also doing something in the universal health coverage. We have to begin to encourage our people to enrol. Just giving N1,000 every month would ensure that your ward has access to primary health care, which comes to N12,000 in a year. So, we need to increase awareness in this space for our people to take advantage of it because it does exist.

“So, we are going to do everything to ensure we continue to improve on our healthcare performance index; and we will not relent until we get to that point where every child, every mother, and every elderly person in this state would have access to primary health care We will not give up”, the governor concluded.

Meanwhile, the Chief of Field Office, UNICEF, Enugu, Juliet Chiluwe, had while commending Mbah administration’s effort at improving healthcare and nutrition also pledged the continued support of the international agency to the government.

“Your policies on healthcare and nutrition are commendable. We commend you for aspiring to make the state the best in the nation, and we are certain that with your support, we will win the leadership challenge.

“We are also impressed with the 260 proposed PHCs and UNICEF will support you”, she stated.

Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary, Enugu State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (ESPHCDA), Dr. Ifeyinwa Ani-Osheku, said the administration was embarking on a massive recruitment of health workers in 2024, adding that the state has set up a seven-man committee to assess the performance of LGAs in primary healthcare delivery.

She said the agency recorded 75 per cent success on the cervical cancer vaccination campaign in October, the disease being the second major cause of death among women, while also training midwives to manage obstetrics and child delivery in rural areas.

On his part, the state’s Commissioner for Health, Prof. Emmanuel Obi, assured the women that the new PHCs would reach every rural community, saying the state was doing well in the health sector because of Governor Mbah’s leadership.

“It is amazing that Enugu is already on the map of states doing well both nationally and internationally. Everyone is interested in Enugu because of the governor’s policies programmes in the health sector,” Dr. Obi stated.

The Chairman of Nkanu West LGA, Hon Uche Ejim; and a traditional ruler, Igwe Amushi Nwodo, who spoke on behalf of the 12 Akpugo communities and other royal fathers; and a community woman leader, Mrs. Chinyere Ani, expressed satisfaction with the determination of the Mbah administration to turn around the health sector in rural communities in the state and pledged their total support.

They pledged to secure health equipment and facilities that would be installed or built in their communities.

In attendance were the members of the House of Assembly representing Nkanu West and East constituencies, Hon. Ilo Aniagu and Hon. Okechukwu Mbah, respectively, Chairman of State ALGON and Council Chairman of Nkanu East LGA, Hon. Sydney Okechukwu Edeh, his Uzo Uwani, Isi Uzo and Enugu East counterparts, Hon. Chukwudi Nnadozie, Hon. Barr. Obiora Obeagu, and Hon. Livinus Anike, respectively, and the Political Adviser to the Governor, Hon. Frank Anioma.

Among the Akpugo stakeholders on hand to receive Governor Mbah were the Special Adviser to Governor on Projects, Arc. Uche Nwatu; Managing Director, Enugu State Investment Development Authority, Dr Sam Ogbu-Nwobodo; former Chairman of the Enugu State LG Pensions Board and Spokesman of Enugu State PDP Campaign Council, Barr. Nana Ogbodo; and former Commissioner for Works, Hon. Afam Nnaji.

Also present were the former Commissioner for Chieftaincy Matters, Barr. Ray Nnaji; former Chairman of the State Civil Service Commission, Dr. Emeka Nwatu; former Deputy Chairman of Nkanu West LG Council, Chief John Ogbodo; former State Secretary of the PDP, Barr. Steve Oruruo, traditional rulers, among others.

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