One of the most important obligations of a government to its citizenry is the provision of quality healthcare facilities. Article 25 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human rights states outrightly that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services.” The right to health is the economic, social and cultural right to a universal minimum standard of health to which individuals are entitled.
Over the years, the healthcare situation in Nigeria has continued to deteriorate. The country’s health sector continues to be plagued with problem after problem; from poor, inadequate, or in some cases, absolute lack of facilities, to poor remuneration for healthcare/front-line workers. According to a document released by the WHO in 2008, Nigeria has one of the largest stock of human resources for health (HRH) in Africa, but the country’s healthcare sector continues to suffer regardless, owing to poor facilities, poor remuneration, and frequent industrial actions by health workers unions.
The result of these anomalies isn’t too hard to see. The adult mortality rate in Nigeria is placed somewhere between age 15 and 60 in 2020, adult mortality rate for Nigeria was 34.25 deaths per 100 population. The infant mortality rate for the country stands at 59.181 deaths per 1000 live births, while an alarming 302,950 pregnant women are estimated to die yearly in Nigeria.
To compound our woes, at this critical pandemic the National Association of Resident Doctors in the country are currently on strike with no truce in sight, owing to a backlog of unfulfilled promises, poor working conditions and a ridiculous remuneration. A direct result of this is the massive brain drain and mass exodus of Nigeria’s healthcare professionals to “greener pastures”.
In our Akwa Ibom State, the Present Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel had on assumption of office embarked on a systemic overhaul of the healthcare services system in the state. The overhaul commenced with the renovation and remodeling of healthcare facilities across the state. St Luke’s Hospital, Anua, General Hospital Iquita Oron, General Hospital, Etinan, General hospital, Ituk Mbang, as well as the Oruk anam general hospital Model were the first few hospitals remodeled in the first phase. Standard equipment were then imported and installed in these facilities, and a fully computerized automation ensued. Also, Clinotech, a Canadian healthcare company noted for having personnel in almost all fields of medical practice was engaged to manage the Ibom Specialist Hospital at Itam.
Laudable as these strides are, more is still left to be done. The Prosperity Project recognizes the good health of all Akwa Ibomites as key to the much needed prosperity; for as we all agree; “health is wealth”.
The healthcare sector is being earmarked for consolidation, targeted development, and general revitalization.
Areas in the healthcare sector that will receive urgent attention include:
1. Personnel: There will be a deliberate employment drive to revive the ailing healthcare sector. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, medical lab scientists and other allied workers will be employed to match the state’s growing population.
2. Infrastructure: Every urban center in the state will be given at least one government general hospital. Where one exists, it will be renovated, remodeled and upgraded. Where non exists, it will be built. We can avert avoidable deaths and disease outbreak by just reducing the distance people travel to receive healthcare. Optimized Primary Health Centres shall be our focus even as we develop Health Insurance.
3. Facilities: Hospitals without facilities will end up killing more people than most diseases ever will. In the “Prosperity Era”, we will ensure that our hospitals are properly equipped to save lives.
4. Adequate Remuneration: To mitigate the current brain-drain currently experienced by the country, we will ensure all state employed healthcare workers receive remuneration and hazard allowances commensurate to their sacrifices and labour.
The #ProsperityEra will place healthcare in high priority. We firmly believe that with a revolutionized healthcare system, we will not only have a healthy and prosperous citizenry, but we would have been able to save more lives,attract huge traffic from other states of the federation, and effectively tap from the huge revenue the country loses yearly to health tourism.
Health is wealth…Prosperity is coming!