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Federal Ministry of Health condemns closure of Health Centers for a year in Enugu

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By Emeka Mamah

Enugu——The Federal Ministry of Health has given low marks to Igbo-Eze North Local Government area of Enugu State in the area of Primary Health Care .

A checklist by the federal agency on “general supervision of primary health care centres in the area blamed the council for technically closing down over 39 health centres in the area through obnoxious policies.

Although the Chairmen of the local government, Comrade Uwakwe Ezeja did not respond to enquiries on the closure of the health centres, findings by the South East Voice, showed that none of the health facilities had functioned since April last year, following a directive that health officials must report for work at the local government headquarters, instead of their health clinics in a bid to check truancy and ghost workers.

“All health officials report at the headquarters in the morning to sign attendance and stay till 3.30pm to sign off. This directiive took effect from April 5, 2018. What workers do is that they sign attendance and look for nearby places to hang around until evening when they sign off on computer and depart.

“Igbo-Eze North is one of the largest local governments in the state in both population and land mass. Some people stay some kilometres away from the headquarters and you cannot expect them to report at the local government, and then go back to their offices only to come back hours later to sign off for the day.

“No health centre has recorded any birth or treated minor illnesses like fever, since April last year because you cannot be in the office to attend to patients and lose your salary. Most of the health centres are overgrown with weeds,” the health workers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told South- East Voice.

They further said that any health worker who failed to report at the local government headquarters even for a day for whatever reason, had his/ her salary withheld.

However, the report of the team from the Federal Ministry of Health, entitled: Integrated supportive supervision checklist: general supervision of primary health care centres, examined “external environment and physical infrastructure” as well as general administration of the primary health care centres before reaching its conclusions.

Under general administration, the team noted that there were no work schedule, up to date register for staff movement or quarterly supervisory visits by those responsible for such supervision.

“There are no medical officers, modified essential newborn care, youth-friendly health service, drug stores or documentation of health facility equipment.

“There are no impress accounts for heads of health care centres, no provision for management of HIV- exposed child. There is no analysis of data generated in health clinics or internet services or trained staff on essential newborn care as well as community-based new born care, or meeting equipment short fall.”

Efforts to get comments from the  local government chairman, Comrade Uwakwe Ezeja or his subordinates on the issue yielded no fruitful results.

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