By Chris Chimezie & Kemi Olatunde
In a bid to strengthen and improve the health and well-being of all citizens of Ondo State, the State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, (SAN), has flagged off the distribution of multi-million naira life-saving medical and laboratory equipment.
According to the Governor, the medical equipment, procured for the Primary Healthcare System in the state, would be distributed across the 18 Local Government Council areas of the state.
The equipment distributed include 18 Microscopes, 18 Bench Centrifuges, 18 improved counting chambers, 18 Micro-Haematocentrifuge, 18 Micro-Haematocrit readers, 36 Glucometers and Strips, 18 Widal test Kits, 18 Oxygen Concentrators (with inbuilt inverters), 18 Oxygen Face Masks and Laboratory Reagents of various types.
Governor Akeredolu noted that the distribution was the first phase of equipping the state’s primary healthcare facilities in gradual fulfilment of the Millennium Service Package (MSP) pillar of the Primary Healthcare Under One Roof (PHCUOR) policy of the Federal Government.
At the commissioning of the medical equipment held at the State Primary Healthcare Development Board in Akure, Akeredolu said the gesture is aimed at ensuring that at least one unit of a well-equipped, standardised and functional laboratory is available in each of the 18 Local Government Areas of the state.
“One striking feature of some of the multimillion naira worth of equipment, is that proper cognisance was taken of the infrastructural profile of our communities.
“For instance, for the reason that a number of these communities where our Primary Healthcare facilities are located do not have sufficient and regular power supply, we ensured that Oxygen Concentrators that were procured are those with in-built Uninterrupted Power supply (UPS).
“This will ensure prolonged usage of the equipment to deliver oxygen to persons needing it, especially children with acute severe respiratory distress which has claimed the lives of many of our children less than five years old”, he said.
The Governor stated that the move is in fulfillment of his promise made to people of the state to transform the health sector with a view of improving the health of the people.
“When our administration came on board in 2017, we made a pledge to the good people of our state, that we shall steadily improve the health of our people by providing the enabling environment and necessary working tools for our teeming health workers at all levels of care.
“Today, I’m glad that in less than two years, the potential of our Primary Healthcare system is being boosted with these equipment being commissioned today”, he said.
Akeredolu, while stressing the importance of having basic medical and laboratory equipment across the 18 Local Government Areas of the state, hinted that the procured equipment would help save children with respiratory distress and ascertain the blood level of pregnant women.
He added that the medical equipment would also assist in conducting HIV screening, blood grouping and cross-matching as well as all other necessary and routine antenatal investigation at the Primary Healthcare level.
“It is my hope that this equipment will be promptly distributed and installed in the facilities for which they are earmarked so that our people can begin to feel the impact of government in our healthcare system.
“It is also my expectation that requisite training will be organised for the relevant health workers who shall man this equipment”, he stated.
The Governor added that the ability of the health facilities to provide proper oxygen therapy is being guaranteed with the provision of Oxygen Concentrators and their accessories.
Arakunrin Akeredolu assured that in the nearest future, subsequent phases of equipment and facilities upgrade will be spread out to other Primary Healthcare facilities till each is able to meet the criteria for proper classification according to the MSP guideline.
In his welcome address, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Wahab Adegbenro while commending the government of i Akeredolu for its massive investments in the health sector explained that the provision of essential laboratory equipment in the various healthcare facilities across the state would give a facelift to the state health sector, especially in the reduction of childhood morbidity and mortality.
While stressing the importance of primary healthcare as the nearest health care to the people in the grassroots, he hinted that this informed the present government’s determination to improve the infrastructural condition of the healthcare facilities inherited from previous administration.
He said: “Our objective then is still the same as now and that is to enrich the quality of care available to the good people of Ondo State.
“How can we accurately make diagnosis in the absence of essential laboratory utensils in our Primary healthcare facilities? How can we effectively treat diseases at the primary level without requisite medical equipment?”
Speaking with The Hope, Executive Secretary, Ondo State Primary Healthcare Board, Dr. Francis Akanbiemu explained that the provision of the equipment would help to increase the capacity of Primary healthcare facilities in responding to health challenges.
Akanbiemu, who expressed appreciation to Akeredolu for creating an enabling environment for the board to work in the state, said plans are underway to ensure that health workers in the various health care facilities are trained on the use of the multi-million naira equipment so as to achieve the desired result in the sector.
He added that the board would also ensure that the laboratory environment across the 18 Local Government Area of the state are renovated in line with best practices, saying “the laboratory environments would be renovated to high standard.”
At the event were: Deputy Governor, Hon Agboola Ajayi, Secretary to Ondo State Government (SSG), Hon Ifedayo Abegunde, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Olugbenga Ale, State APC Chairman, Engr Ade Adetimehin, Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Yemi Olowolabi and Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Deaconess Lola Fagbemi.
Others are: Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Dr Jibayo Adeyeye, Executive Secretary, Ondo State Primary Healthcare Development Board, Dr Francis Akanbiemu, Local Government Caretaker Chairmen, Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ondo State chapter, Rev Ayo Oladapo, Primary Healthcare Coordinators, among others.