By Steve Oko
The governorship candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, in Abia State, Professor Greg Ibe, has claimed that average life expectancy in the state is low due to Government’s neglect of the health sector.
Ibe who spoke in Umuahia during the flag-off of his six-day annual free medical outreach said that the protracted strike by doctors at the Abia State University Teaching Hospital ABSUTH, Aba over 25 months salary arrears “only confirmed that the state government is not bothered” about the health of the people.
Professor Ibe who was represented by his running mate, Hon. Obinna Ichita, said: “The oldest man in most Abia communities today is 50 years old because there is no robust health care system in place”.
He further said:” It’s only in Abia that doctors are owed for 25 months and Government is busy telling stories.
“Our only state teaching hospital, ABSUTH, has been under lock and key for over one year.
” The present administation in the state has lost value for life. The only functional unit at ABSUTH is the mortuary and the Government is not moved. Fridays and Saturdays are now for burial due to high rate of death in Abia.”
Professor Ibe explained that he embarked on the free medical outreach as an interventionist programme to bridge the gap in the health care delivery system, adding that over 20,000 persons will benefit from the scheme.
He said that the programme had nothing to do with his political ambition as he had been in the humanitarian gesture since 1991.
Ibe further explained that those with surgery cases would be referred to the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia for further treatment at no cost to the patients.
In an interview, the Head of the medical team, Dr Ojum Ogwo, said over 50 medical doctors and medical personnel from different areas of specialty were on ground to attend to people who show up for the scheme.
Earlier in a remark, APGA Chairman, Rev. Augustine Ehiemere, described the intervention as apt in view of “the deplorable condition of the health sector in the state”.
He knocked the state government for “toying with the welfare of health workers” , but urged the people not to lose hope.
“It is shameful to note that ABSUTH which has already lost accreditation to admit medical students is at the verge of losing clinical accreditation due to insensitivity of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-led administation supervising the collapse of Abia.
He urged people with health challenges to take advantage of the scheme and receive quality health care, adding that the scheme is for all.
Some of the beneficiaries including Gloria Eke, John Chikwe and Jeremiah Kalu showered praises on the benefactor for the gesture.
The exercise which will be moved around all three senatorial zones in the state, is to end on Sunday.