Just recently, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State was at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUTH) – Parklane Teaching Hospital, Enugu to officially flag off the 2015 1st Round of the Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCHW) week and re-launch of the State Free Maternal and Child Health (FMCH) Care Programme organized by the State Ministry of Health.
The one week programme which was part of the strategy adopted by the federal and state governments and health development partners to address high maternal neonatal, morbidity and mortality rates of women and children in the country, through an integrated free package of high impact and cost effective interventions was also targeted at strengthening routine immunization and other designated primary health care services at health facilities in the state and the country at large.
Governor Ugwuanyi took out time to appreciate the women who came in large numbers with their children for the flag-off ceremony, as he went round to meet them.
He stated that the premium his administration attaches to the programme was overwhelming and underscores its firm commitment to the improvement of quality health care service delivery in the state which he promised the people of the state during the campaign. Hence, his presence to perform the flag-off ceremony.
On the programme’s intervention measures which include health preventive and curative services that will reduce infant, child and under-five mortality as well as maternal sicknesses and deaths, the governor in his solemn devotion to quality health services, noted that his administration as a health conscious one intends to carry-out routine immunization services for under-one children; de-worming of children within 1 to 5 years; vitamin A supplementation for children between 6 months and 5 years; screening for malnutrition; anti-natal care for pregnant women; messages on key household care practices such as breast feeding, complementary feeding and hand washing as well as health education on HIV/AIDS etc; and finally, birth registration by the National Population Commission (NPC).
On some requests made by the Sate Ministry of Health aimed at moving the health sector forward, Gov. Ugwuanyi, among other things, promised to upgrade three District Hospitals, one in each of the three Senatorial Districts to a Specialist status subject to positive improvement in the nation’s economy.
The event which came barely one month into the life of the present administration brought together major stakeholders in the health sector in Enugu State, including health development partners, to chart a new course on the best practical approach to actualize the aims and objectives of the scheme.
It also gave the health experts in the state the opportunity to appreciate the governor who was physically present at the event for his visionary leadership and special interest in providing efficient, quality and affordable healthcare service delivery.
They also applauded him for being the first governor in the state to personally flag off the scheme since it was established, noting that his presence was an indication that the state is in for good times.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman of Enugu State Nigerian Medical Association, Dr. George Ugwu commended the priority attention the governor has paid the health sector.
According to Ugwu, “Just about 48 hours after his inauguration as governor of this state, Gov. Ugwuanyi visited hospitals to attend to patients as if he were a medical doctor. He has shown us that the progress of this sector is first on his priority list and we thank him for that.
“We in the Medical profession are not here to ask for what the government will do for us but what we will bring to the table to move our health sector forward. We assure you of our readiness to volunteer medical services to the rural areas in support of your commitment in the sector.”
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Enugu State Council of Traditional Rulers, and one of the special guests of honour at the event, Ambassador Lawrence Agubuzor, thanked the governor for his presence at the event, adding that his participation was a show of his political will towards ensuring that the health sector succeeds.
He equally commended the development partners for their contributions towards quality health care services in the state and urged the people especially women and children to take advantage of the week-long programme to improve on their health status.
In the same vein, the Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Health, Dr. Moses Obiefuna Otiji who was overwhelmed by the presence of the governor at the event, stated that “today marks an important day in our life as a Ministry with our dependable partners as we host His Excellency, the Governor of Enugu State for the Flag –off ceremony….., your being here today, is a demonstration of your commitment, passion and love for the health sector with particular attention to women and children”.
From the premise of the above, many believe that the agenda of the administration of Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi on health is positive when he stated that “our presence here today shows we have resolved not only to continue with the programme but that we will strive to raise the bar of the present success story”.
In all, there is no doubt that Gov. Ugwuanyi’s passion for health is tremendous. Health stakeholders are of the view that what is required is for them as well as other residents of the state to give the present administration the needed support and cooperation to succeed.
Louis Amoke, writes from Enugu