By Osadie Crusoe
Governor Godwin Obaseki is taking the bulls by the horns by putting in place measures that will guarantee quality life for the people of Edo State. He has committed to developing the state’s primary health care, which he is massively investing in.
Stating the fact as they are, Obaseki has repeatedly said that meaningful health care system in Nigeria would be a mirage if government fails to invest in the primary health care sub-sector, which is the foundation of a growing society. He had, at his inauguration on November 12, 2016, pledged to provide the needed leadership to move the state forward.
And to ensure a sustainable health care system in the state, the administration is aggressively pushing for the Edo State Health Law 2017 to domesticate the National Health Act of 2014. When it takes effect, the law will enable the state government roll out Primary Health Care Model centres in all the 18 local government areas and the 192 wards in the state.
The benefits of the bill will include the remodeling and standardisation of the health system in the state, particularly the primary health care sub-sector which covers 70 percent of the state’s health challenges.
This move is no doubt one in the right direction for which Edo people will be grateful. This policy will address issues associated with healthcare at the grassroots for Edo people who cannot afford overseas medical attention. This is no doubt a legacy for which Obaseki will be remembered for in years to come.
The import of this bill is not just its potential to revolutionalise healthcare management, it will also go a long way in impacting the lives of the people.
This will reduce the cost of health care services as the scheme, when it becomes law, will reduce the cost of medicare. It is instructive to note that it is at the primary health care level that issues relating to maternal and child mortality, family planning, immunisation and other everyday health issues are handled. This makes the decision to invest in primary healthcare by the Obaseki-led administration strategic.
Obaseki, who reiterated that his commitment to primary health care was due to its impact on the poor masses, said only a strong primary health care system would ensure that residents don’t develop health complications that would limit their chances of contributing to the development of Edo and country at large.
Another strategic move by the Obaseki administration is the plan to run the Specialist Hospital, in Benin-City on a public-private partnership arrangement with a view to providing world class healthcare services to the people.
The new structure is intended to put the hospital at par with the best hospitals in the world and serve the healthcare needs of Edo people. This will reposition Edo as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria and pave way for the state to invest in its primary healthcare system.
Obaseki who was the Chairman of the State Economic Team in the last administration, came prepared for the job of governor. His experience and expertise can be felt from the impactful policies his administration is rolling out. Shortly after assuming office, he constituted a committee on Project Clean-Up Edo State. It was followed by a two-day workshop of stakeholders in the sector, which was chaired by a former Cross River State Governor, Donald Duke.
To further actualise the vision of a clean and green Edo, the state government embarked on training of the Edo State Waste Management Board (ESWMB) workforce and waste managers.
The blueprint for the task was unveiled to the team during a one-day retreat on “The New Waste Management Reform and implementation Strategy”, put together by the Committee on Project Clean Up Edo.
As a result, the three major city centres namely, Kings Square, Third Junction and New Benin Market area, have been rid of chaos and debris. Past administrations had tried to clean up the state in order to curb the menace to no avail.
Expatiating on the need for these laudable policies and interventions, Obaseki maintained that they became necessary in view of the fact that for meaningful health care system not to be a mirage in Nigeria, government at the subnational level must invest in the primary health care sub-sector which is the first line of medicare sought by the masses.
Considering the volume of work that has been put in place by this administration within the period under review, Edo people can be rest assured about the administration’s capacity at surmounting the daunting challenges ahead and delivering on its campaign promises.
Osagie Crusoe is the Special Adviser on Media to Governor Obaseki.