By Chioma Ndife
The Special Assistant to the Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, on Chieftaincy Matters, Hon. Ernest Elochukwu Igbanugo, has hailed the achievements recorded by the state government in the health sector.
He noted that the giant strides which were attained under Dr. Joe Akabuike’s watch as the Commissioner for Health had made Anambra to come on board as one of the leading states in Nigeria known for efficient and effective health management. He explained that the stability in the health sector which Anambra had been enjoying came sequel to the various policies which the State Government embarked upon to boost health care services.
Igbanugo who is the immediate Past President General of Ndiokpaleke Community in Orumba North LGA, made the commendation recently while speaking to Fides on his assessment of the health sector in Anambra State following the completion of a health centre in Ndiokpaleke. He said that Anambra State was able to emerge best in immunization, neglected tropical diseases and TB tracking and management in the country, due to the consolidated effort of the commissioner whom he described as passionate and dedicated towards serving humanity.
According to Obiano’s aide, the renovation of 115 health care centres across the state which was attained after the passage of the bill that brought all the primary health care under one roof known as Primary Health Care Development Agency, alongside the introduction of keke ambulance model and speed boats in the riverine areas, was part of the indices that stabilized health in the state. He recalled that before the inception of Governor Obiano’s administration, health care centres in the state were disintegrated while others not under community management were completely collapsed.
He revealed that Anambra State was able to become one of the 13 states that qualified for the Basic Health Provision Fund through the linkages which the commissioner for health established with the help of national and international bodies.
Igbanugo, a one-time chairman of PGs in Orumba North, disclosed that Dr. Akabuike was the brain behind the transformed health indices in Anambra State and described the health commissioner as one of the most outstanding and competent commissioners of health in the federation.
He maintained that Dr. Akabuike had lived out his vision which was to make Anambra the state with highest health status in Nigeria with unfettered access to healthcare delivery and near zero disease burden alongside his mission to develop and implement policies and programmes, as well as undertake other necessary actions that will strengthen the state Health System to be able to deliver effective, efficient, quality and affordable health services that foster improved health status of Nigerians to serve as the engine for the pursuit of accelerated economic growth and sustained development since he came on board as the health commissioner in the state.
He said that the newly introduced oxygen production gas plant at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Awka, was another innovation and a welcome development.
He highlighted some of the medical reforms which had been introduced in the state to include drafting and passage of bills on the Primary Healthcare Development Agency and Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme into law, implementation of onshore/offshore strategy, purchase of flying boats and boat ambulance for better access and utilization of health services in Hard-to-Reach-Areas, predominantly riverine, with difficult terrains, among others.
The Special Assistant on Chieftaincy matters also observed that the governor’s wife, Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano, through her pet projects, had supported the ministry in the area of helping the disabled in the state with artificial limbs.