By Harris Emanuel, Uyo
Akwa Ibom government has given reasons for the creation of a primary healthcare development agency in the state, saying that the agency was aimed at strengthening healthcare delivery at the grassroots and ensuring efficient management and supervision.
Commissioner for Health, Professor Augustine Umoh, who dropped the hints, said the agency would also enable primary healthcare services to be brought under one roof.
He said, “We are trying to have primary health care under one roof. Under the primary health development agency which would mean that everything about primary healthcare will be under the agency.
“Presently, we have the primary healthcare domiciled in the ministry of health and we have the local government service commission, who really pays the workers under the local government system. Some of these challenges are there.”
The Commissioner also disclosed that the process was ongoing to make it possible for people to be able to access primary healthcare while the state government has given the approval for the migration of staff from other departments to the agency.
“This could have been done long before now, as you would remember the EndSars protests of last year in which the office of the primary healthcare development agency was vandalised. The place was well set up, it was one of the best in the country, and they went there and destroyed many things. We need to put all that back together. First of all we have to wait for the insurance company, the owner of the building, to restore it, this took us away from our initial plans.
“We are conducting training for the primary healthcare workers to bring them at par with their counterparts in other parts of the country.
“This will be followed by the enumeration of the different primary health care centres to know what we have and find out what should be done,’’ he said
The commissioner dismissed insinuations that the state government has abandoned the primary healthcare, explaining that “it may look like nothing is happening, but work is ongoing, when we have done what we are planning to do, we will be able to have more funds from the national primary healthcare development agency, so it is not being abandoned.”
He added, “Right now there are different controls of primary health care staff working in this area, going forward, all the staff shall be under the control of one agency, the Akwa Ibom State primary health care development agency. “
He also explained that the challenges that had bedeviled the school of health technology in Etinan have been addressed after a committee was set up to find lasting solutions to the issues.
He ruled out the establishment of more primary healthcare centres for now by the state government , as according to him, “every ward in the state has a primary healthcare centre”, adding that the centres are being equipped by the state government accordingly.