By Kemi Olatunde
A vibrant health sector delivers competent services including preventive and curative services which is paramount to the growth and development of any state.
The provision of efficient and effective healthcare system is possible through appropriate equipped medical facilities which would aid trained medical personnel in discharging their duties.
The advantages of putting in place appropriate healthcare facilities cannot be over emphasized.
A responsible government gives priority to the health of the people because maintaining good health goes beyond looking good but being a healthy person overall.
A healthy system is reflected in the people as it makes them not only attractive but also productive.
Every citizen of Ondo State knows that the provision of accessible and qualitative health care and social services delivery is one of the five points agenda of Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, and he has never proved otherwise.
In less than two years of his administration, there has been a boost in the health sector.
Just a few days ago, the Governor commissioned and distributed multi million naira medical and laboratory equipment for Primary Healthcare System in 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.
The event which was held at the state Primary Healthcare Development Board, Akure, was witnessed by dignitaries including; 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 present were: Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Dr Jibayo Adeyeye, Executive Secretary, Ondo State Primary Healthcare Development Board, Dr Francis Akanbiemu, Permanent Secretary, Ondo State Hospitals Management Board, Dr. Niran Ikuomola, Local Government Caretaker Chairmen, Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ondo State chapter, Rev Ayo Oladapo and Primary Healthcare Coordinators, among others.
Flagging off the distribution of the life saving equipment across the 18 Local Government Areas of the state, 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.
Akeredolu explained that the gesture 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.
He described the move as a fulfillment of his promise to the 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 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 weekend Digest, Executive Secretary, Ondo State Primary Healthcare Board, Dr. Francis Akanbiemu said 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.”
Also speaking with Weekend Digest, Perm Sec, Hospitals Management Board(HMB), Dr. Niran Ikuomola commended government effort at improving the health sector especially the diagnostic area of the Primary Healthcare System.
According to him; “Primary Healthcare is meant to provide preventive services and for government to deem it fit to provide laboratory equipment for proper diagnosis and case management especially in the rural areas of the state is highly commendable.”
On his part, State Chairman, Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, Ondo State Government Hospitals, Dr. Adeniyi Aderoba described the development as a great step towards the delivery of quality healthcare to the people of Ondo state.
“At present, the geographic distribution of primary and secondary healthcare facilities ensures that health services can be accessed within a reasonable distance in most areas of the state.
“The investment in medical products and equipment as well as the drive towards deploying improved medical technologies will improve responsiveness and efficiency of our health systems.” He added