By Ikechukwu Iroha
On May 29, 2015, a new leadership was ushered to saddle Abia State to enviable height. Dr Ikpeazu on assumption of office defined the direction of his administration. Healthcare was one of the sectors he promised to look into within his time in Office.
Today, we are looking back at what the Governor has achieved so far within his first one year in the health sector.
Within his first two months as Abia State Governor, Dr Ikpeazu resolved an eigh months dispute between health workers and the government which paralyzed the activities in the health sector. The Governor immediately started the payment of workers areas.
In the area of infrastructural development, Dr Ikpeazu has approved an outright funding, leading to the total upgrading, and reconstruction of the school of midwifery at Abiriba, School of Nursing at Aba, Umuahia and Amachara which prompted their re-accreditation by the Midwifery and Nursing Council of Nigeria.
The purposely leadership of Dr Ikpeazu also in the area of healthcare delivery, attracted the attention of MTN foundation. Abia State was listed into its programme among six other States to benefit in funding the reduction of maternal and infant mortality and morbidity. The significance of this huge progress is that MTN foundation will equip the maternal wards of four General hospitals in the state.
The project is already ongoing at the Abia State Specialist and Diagnostic Center at Umuahia, General Hospital Okpuala Ngwa, and Cottage Hospital, Owaza.
The Governor also approved fund for the final stages in the construction of four 100 beds General Hospitals located at Okeipke, Ukwa West, Arochukwu and Obingwa LGA. To make the hospitals function effectively, Dr Ikpeazu has approved for the engagement of professional health workers such as Doctors, Pharmacists, Nurses, Laboratory scientists and other health aides.
Abia State University Teaching Hospital has also seen the light in terms of infrastructural development. Approval of fund to give the following departments a facelift has been given by the Governor. Paediatrics, Radiology, Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Cardiotomography, Ophthalmology, Anesthesia, Internal Medicine and supply of oxygen to the main building, and reconstruction of Child Health complex is at completion level. The Governor is beating the time in preparation to the visit of the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria for the re-accreditation of some of the departments.
Dr Okezie is partnering with our diaspora medical specialists to establish a Super tertiary medical facility in Obuaku and to manage some of our medical facilities on a public private partnership basis aimed at reversing current trends in medical tourism. Obuaku has a shouting distance from Port-Hacourt, Rivers state.
The multi-million dollar STHF run by Abia medical professionals at home and in the diaspora would boost the state economy.
The STHF project is one direct way of arresting the current capital flight occasioned by medical trips to Europe, America and India which is draining the nation’s scarce and rapidly depleting foreign exchange. When the ultra modern health facility is completed, critical cardiovascular and organ transplant cases will no longer be handled outside our shores.
Dr Ikpeazu has sustained struggle in the war against HIV/AIDs uprising and prevalence in Abia State. His effort has forced a steady drop of the illness from 7.30% to 3.9% based on sentinel reports.
Abia State Government has partnered with MTN Foundation Yellow Doctors Mobile Medical Intervention as part of the social responsibilities.
Abia State under the Leadership of Dr Ikpeazu within the year, undertook to equip mobile trucks with drugs to provide free primary healthcare to the rural communities.
The programme has recorded a lot of success since it was launched. 1623 in 6 new communities benefited in Bende LGA, 1568 in four communities benefited in Isiukwuato, eight communities in Umuahia South recorded 1549 beneficiaries while six communities in Ikwuano LGA recorded a total of 1191 beneficiaries.
The “Save One Million Lives” project aimed at saving of one million Children under the age of 5 years and women in the child bearing age was approved by Dr Ikpeazu and MOU signed accordingly. The project covers HIV/AIDs carrying Measles Immunization coupons contraceptive prevalent rate.
It is also worthy to note that the treatment of the world most deadly disease has been on under Dr Ikpeazu. Tuberculosis which is said to kill three people every minute, will not survive in Abia State.
Under this administration, Tuberculosis reference lab for the South East region of the country has been completed and sited at Specialist Hospital, Amachara.
Currently, there are 102 therapeutic centres, 42 Microscopy centres as well as two gene experts’ machines in the State for diagnosis in the treatment of TB.
The centres include Federal Medical Centre Umuahia, General Hospital, Okpuala Ngwa, Isiukwuato, Amachara, Arochukwu cottage Hospital Owaza, Abia health office and 68 Primary Health Care Centres as well as Modern Chest clinic at Specialist Hospital, Amachara.
The Carter Center in Abia State has been in top gear in treating such disease as the Onchocerciasis, Lymphatic Filliarias as well as soil transmitted Helminth and Schistosomiasis which are endemic in the 12 LGA of Abia State.
These are Neglected Tropical Disease NTDs that are common in the poorest population of the world.Dr Ikpeazu’s commitment in the health sector is really commendable in that aspect.
Abia State collaboration with the Carter Centre has trained and retrained a total of 8,277 Health workers at both state and community levels and up to 281,060 children between the ages of 5-14 years. The Centre has treated 1,049,889 persons and therapeutic coverage given among the population at risk.
Within his first year in Office, The Maternal, Newborn and Child health has consistently received attention.The focus in Routine Immunization has centered in Ante Natal care , Tetanus toxide blood building drugs, anti Malaria drugs, De-worming for children 1-5 years, Vitamin A supplementation for Children 6 months – 5 years.
With Dr Ikpeazu’s time in Office, the Abia State primary Healthcare Development Agency proceeded with the implementation of National Directive to introduce the inactivate polio vaccines in the immunization schedule in the State, aimed at reducing the maternal and child mortality which is an indicator for a developed state.
It takes a leader to lead with focus and commitment. Dr Ikpeazu’s giants stride in the health sector has not gone unnoticed. The truth is, he has more and more to offer.
Within a year, you have achieved much. We say, Kudos to the people’s Governor.
Ikechukwu Iroha is a media aide to Abia State Governor.