May 3, 2010

Chukwu, new Health Minister, assumes office

…Seeks to improve national health indices

By Sola Ogundipe & Chinyere Amalu
ONE of the top priorities of the new Minister of Health, Prof.Christian  Chukwu as he assumed duty last week , is to  ensure that Nigerians begin to enjoy good health indices as well as  entrenchment of the tenets of team work and unity amongst staff of the Ministry of Health.

He said: “First, primary duty is to ensure that Nigerians begin to enjoy good health indices because right now our health indices, child and maternal mortality rates are dismal.

Minister of Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu (left) with Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health Mr. Linus Awute, during the assumption of duty of the Minister in Abuja last week.

“My primary task is to ensure that we raise the indices to an appreciable and enviable level as directed by the Acting President who said there is little time within which result must begin to show. In three months Nigerians will begin to see sign of changes”.

The Minister also promised to reconcile all aggrieved health professional groups in Nigeria, saying, without the in put of all  professionals, health sector will continue to suffer set backs.

Chukwu who was ushered into the Ministry by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Linus Awute noted that his focus would be on three broad areas of mandate given to him by Acting President, Dr.Goodluck Jonathan.

These, according to him, were to ensure that all the various professional groups in the health sector work together as a team,  to initiate action to improve the health indices of Nigeria and to make it obvious to all Nigerians the direction  the health system is going.

He acknowledged the work done by his predecessors and noted with delight that the priority given to staff welfare and motivation was the best form of staff motivation.

He identified compliance with standards and retraining of medical practitioners and unity of health care providers as key factors in improving the health indices in Nigeria.

He also called on the Medical and Dental Association to explore ways of engaging other allied health councils in ensuring unity and harmony in the health care delivery system and  set standards that will help in improving health service delivery

Chukwu who made the call in Abuja when he received the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria said: “The appropriate regulation in the medical profession can help in achieving the mandate of improving the health indices of Nigeria, which is of paramount concern to the Acting President  Jonathan.”

MDCN President, Dr Makanjuola informed the Minister that the Council is committed to ensuring strict compliance with the quota for admission into medical institutions and also professional development for practicing doctors which will be made a precondition for the renewal of practicing licence from 2011.

Born April 22, 1962, the Health Minister – a professor of medicine, hails from Afikpo in Afikpo LGA of Ebonyi State. He  graduated from the University of Lagos in 1986 and was Chief Medical Director,  Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital from 2003-2008.

Later, he became  Deputy Provost of the College of Medicine of the Ebonyi State University,Abakaliki, from where he was appointed the Minister of Health.