By John Ighodaro
CALABARâ€”Plans to fast track the Free Primary Health Care programme of the Cross River State government have been concluded as the state government signs an agreement with Galaxy Backbone Limited for the supply and installation of internet facilities to all Health Management Information System (HMIS) offices and Health Centers in the 18 local government areas in the state.
In a post agreement speech, deputy governor of Cross River State, Mr. Efiok Cobham, said it will enhance data collection and enable timely accessibility in the free health programme for pregnant women and children under five years as introduced by the state government.
He said the agreement became imperative because government realized that the social welfare components were lacking in the state and therefore introduced free health programmes which will be launched next week following the commencement of the agreement.
The deputy governor further noted that the programme is critical to the people especially those who do not have access to government but need government most, describing it as a milestone towards the realization of the stateâ€™s health care programme while hoping that the company handling the project, will deploy its resources and expertise to do an excellent job.
According to the Deputy Governor, Cross River hopes to enjoy the partnership with the expectation that it will deliver high quality job while looking forward for further collaboration which might culminate into the two undertaking another high quality job.
Mr. Odo Effiong Special Adviser, Information Communication Technology (ICT), in an introductory remark, disclosed that the agreement covered three health programmes of the State which include free health care programme to pregnant women and children under five years, Conditional Cash Transfer and Primary Health Information System, adding that the agreement was necessary for the success of the programme because it is designed for the benefit of Cross Riverians especially the less privileged.
Effiong explained that the exercise is a rigorously arranged system put in place as an on line, saying that Galaxy Backbone Limited is in Public Private Partnership (PPP) with the Federal government to assist the public sector to ensure its services go to the actual sector earmarked to benefit.
According to Effiong all the 146 Primary/Secondary Health Care Centres in the state have been connected and provided with services and facilities which he described as a pioneering programme introduced by governor Liyel Imoke to the people of Cross River with the hope to bring succor to the less privileged in the state.
He noted that though the Free Health Care programme is an on going exercise, about 130,000 people have registered across the state.
Managing Director Galaxy Backbone Limited, Mr. Gerald Ilukwe said he was glad and honoured to be given the opportunity to provide the facility because it keys into the vision of the company, explaining that when it is fully operational, it will be able accommodate other programmes that will be introduced by the State government.