By Umar Yusuf
IN Adamawa State, there has not been continuity in healthcare policy and development programmes since 1999. They varied from administration to administration. Though successive administrations accorded healthcare the needed priority but the administrations differed in their implementations.
Some of the administrations initiated healthcare programmes and policies that were just on paper that were not implemented, even as some were done haphazardly. Former Governor Boni Haruna, who took over from the Military at the inception of democracy in 1999 made appreciable impact to reach the nooks and crannies of the State in terms of implementation of healthcare policies.
The administration made appreciate impact in tuning the healthcare policies of the out-gone military administrations. The Boni Haruna regime strived hard to ensure even spread of healthcare services to appreciate the populace that voted him to power. On this score, rural health centres were established in the border communities with the Republic of Cameroun especially in the northern senatorial district of the state.
Rural health centres were established in Mubi North, Mubi South, Michika, Maiha and Madagali border communities. Reports had it then that it was the establishment of such healthcare facilities and other projects that made the rural dwellers to know they were Nigerians due to the long neglect of the areas by the Military regime.
The coming to power of former Governor Murtala Nyako on May 29, 2007, marked the beginning of aggressive healthcare programmes in Adamawa State. Murtala Nyako’s regime combined the establishment of rural, semi-urban and township healthcare programmes and policies. This led to the establishment of more rural health centres, cottage hospitals and general hospitals in almost all the districts and senatorial headquarters of the state.
In places where such hospitals were already in existence, they were either upgraded or rehabilitated and equipped with modern medical facilities. One of the signature health projects of Nyako is the German Referral Hospital, Yola, initially meant to serve as the teaching hospital of the Modibbo Adama University of Technology. However, the idea was later changed and the Federal Medical Centre, Yola was chosen as the university’s teaching hospital.
The Nyako Administration established rural health clinics in all the 22 wards of Yola, the State capital to de-congest the state Specialist Hospitals as well as the Adamawa Healthcare Development Agency, funded by WHO, UNICEF and other donors. Following Nyako’s impeachment and the coming on board of his Bala Ngillari on October 14, 2014 little or no additions were made during the eight months he held sway to complete their tenure.
Balla Ngilari’s short stay in power was concentrated on supervising and inspecting healthcare projects put in place by his predecessor. When former Governor Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow took over May 29, 2015, he listed provision of healthcare services, education, and road construction as the focal points of his administration.
The administration reasoned that road construction and provision of health services have to go side by side because the sick have to be moved to the nearest health facility on good roads for quick and prompt attention. Thus, in addition to building healthcare facilities, Bindow constructed and linked them with access roads.
The immediate past administration also rehabilitated the general hospitals in Mubi, Hong, Song, Gombi, Garikida, Michika, Maiha and Madagali, which were destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents when they overran the Northern Senatorial District of the State in 2015. When Bindow was leaving on May 29, 2019 rehabilitation and reconstructions works were still ongoing at the Numan, Ganye, Mayo-Belwa, Fufore, Toungo, Shelleng, Guyuk, Lamurde and Girei general and cottage hospitals.
Governor Ahmadu Fintiri took over the helm of affairs of the State on May 29, 2019 and not much impact has been recorded in the healthcare sector as the regime clocks one year. The only healthcare programme the administration is managing is the COVID 19 pandemic ravaging the world.