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From Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
Waves of excitement swept through the 13 local government areas of Ebonyi State, recently, following the flag-off of reconstruction, rehabilitation and comprehensive restructuring of 13 general hospitals located in each of the councils.
Not left out are the 171 primary healthcare centres in all the political wards in the state. According to the state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr Daniel Umezurike, the projects now receiving the attention of the state government would gulp a staggering sum of N2.1 billion.
“When we came on board, we inherited a rotten system and dilapidated infrastructure,” he said. “But in the governor’s quest to reposition the health sector and ensure decent health service delivery, this contract was award. The catchment areas are: completion of the ongoing projects which contract issues we have resolved and perimetre fencing of the 13 general hospitals.”
“Importance of perimetre fencing in health facilities cannot be overemphasized,” he noted. “Our health workers work day and night and you can only secure lives and property when these facilities are fenced. That is why we are embarking on these projects. Finally, is the landscaping of the 13 general hospitals. This would help to promote a conducive environment in our hospitals.”
He said that they are divided into 42 slots and would take about six months to be completed, adding that already certificates of about N210 million have been generated for immediate commencement of the projects.
“It is our hope that the primary and secondary health centres are upgraded and our next target is establishing the Ebonyi State Health Insurance Scheme so that we can beat our chest and say that we have delivered all the dividends of democracy to our people,” he said.
Dr Umezurike explained that aside the rehabilitation of the infrastructure, there would also be staffing of the facilities to provide adequate manpower that would smoothen the daily running of the hospitals. He disclosed that the governor had declared a state of emergency on the health sector in the state following the transformative health assessment report presented to him.
Performing the groundbreaking ceremony at Ezza South General Hospital, Onueke, Governor David Umahi lamented the decrepit state of hospitals in the state. He said that he was moved to embark on the revamping of the state’s health sector given the hardship being experienced by his people in accessing quality healthcare.The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwe, regretted that his administration inherited a decayed healthcare system, which was causing the people untold hardship.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Ezza South Local Government Area, Mr Sunday Ngodo, promised to put a serious check on the contractor handling the project to ensure that he uses quality materials as captured in the bill of quantity.
The Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Health Services, Dr Sunday Nwangele, appealed to the chairmen of the councils, traditional rulers, the youths and others to take ownership of the projects by ensuring their proper supervision, pointing out that the contracts were awarded under a cost-effective condition.
The Chairman, House Committee on Health, Mazi Oliver Ossi, pledged that the legislature, especially the committee headed by him would offer every legislative support to see that the mission of the state government was actualized.