OPINION : Reminiscing Ayade's Achievements In Primary Healthcare Sector

Cross River State Governor,  Senator Ben Ayade (L) with the Director General, CRSPHDA, Dr.  Beta Edu 
By Inyali Peter

More often than not, government officials, even the Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade appears to pay more attention and more premium in celebrating areas of the current administration that no feasible changes have been made than the few areas which the administration has done well.

Although the abysmal performance of Ayade in his two and a half years as Governor in general terms is very laudable to the deaf and extremely visible to the blind (even the kindergarten in the state know this), there exist an area that if the government can build on the momentum and its achievements, the Governor may serve himself the disgrace of the failure tag hanging around his neck.

It is now an open secret that Ayade in terms of all round development is the worst civilian Governor Cross River ever produced but his massive failure has surprisingly sparred the state's Primary Healthcare sector. Like earlier stated,  this area, apart from the massive publicity it enjoys on social media has not been given the desired credit either by government critics or top government officials themselves.

A typical PR manager in Ayade administration will prefer to write with fanfare about the failed Green Police (Now Green Sherrif), the ghost Homeland Security, the unending media implementation of MOUs on Canadian Technical School or even the barrage of Dortmund beach resort than the absorption of 18 trained doctors to provide quality healthcare services to our people in remote areas by the Primary healthcare sector.

Investigation into the performances of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs )under Ayade revealed that Primary Healthcare Development Agency, the mother body of the primary healthcare sector has performed greatly above the credits it gets.

These achievements which may not have been sponsored by the state government only have been categorised into subheadings. These are: Strengthening the Primary Healthcare (PHC) System, Renovations, rehabilitation/Equipping of PHCs, Creation of Health Posts, Service Delivery and Capacity Building.

In Strengthening PHC system in the state, the Ayade administration has set up the Cross River Primary Healthcare Development Agency. The Governor went further to appoint a vibrant community health expert, Dr. Beta Edu as the pioneer Director General of the Agency.  This appointment is rated by both sycophants and critics of the government as the best ever and the most reasonable decision taken by Ayade so far.

Recall that this agency was recommended by the United Nations around 2009. The UN recommendation was domesticated in Cross River State as CRSPHDA law No 2 in 2011. Although, the Imoke administration performed credibly in this sector,  it never saw the need of setting up this agency.

The creation of an independent agency which also has board members has opened up the sector to both international and local health organizations to invest and carry out health programs.It has opened the door for the state to assess the save one million lives funds and World Bank funds.

There is also the benefit of financial interventions/support from international donors which is in turn leveraging on government expenses in the health sector.

The recent improved primary healthcare delivering in the state as reliably gathered is sponsored by international donors that built credibility in the state primary healthcare system via the creation of the agency.

Similarly, the system has been strengthened through the Development of the first ever Annual Operational Plan (AOP) for the Primary Healthcare sector in the state. With this development, the sector now has a clear working plan on how to improve on the existing system.

Under this administration too, there have been concerted efforts in moving PHC workers from Local Government to the Agency. This will not only help to reduce the burden of salary payment on the local government but will also put the welfare responsibility and staff capacity building directly under the shoulders of the state government. That's,  it will attract a better welfare package that will translate into better service delivery.

Like earlier stated, the administration has absorbed 18 Doctors at the LGAs to provide quality health care services to Cross Riverians.

Besides, the government has also embarked on rapid renovation and equipping of primary health centres across the state.  Some of the renovated and equipped centres include: Comprehensive Health Centre, Etayip, Ikom, Primary Health Centre Bedia in Obudu, Primary health Centre, Adijinkpor, Ikom and the Primary Health Centre Aningeje, Akamkpa LGA.

Also, the government has repaired the cold chain equipment and installed new equipment to improve the state cold chain monitoring and effective immunization services.

There have also been provision of 600 delivery kits to four PHC in the state. This efforts was supported by Mediatrix Development Foundation (MDF) owned by the Governor's wife, Dr. Linda Ayade and United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA).

To improve the lighting system in health centres, the government partnered European Union Support to Immunization Governance in Nigeria (E. U SIGN) to provide 10 Direct Solar Refrigerators and 10 solar panels for 10 PHC facilities in the state.

The administration has also partnered with the Niger Delta Development Commission,  NDDC to provide One new cold room for immunisation for cold chain maintenance.

Nevertheless, there have also been establishment of health posts in some hard-to-reach areas.  Some of which include: the creation of Primary health post in IDP camp1 at Ikot Eyo, Akpabuyo, Primary Health post in IDP camp11 at Ikot Effiom, Bakassi, Creation of PHC post at all borders communities to improve disease surveillance and prevent trans border spread of diseases as well as Creation of Health Post, Burrowpit, Calabar Municipality.

Under service delivery, the administration has implemented the first and second rounds of 2015 Maternal  New-Born and Child Health Week (MNCH). The program was Sponsored by the state Government in partnership with UNICEF.

Also, government has successfully implemented the first PHC Integrated Supportive Supervision in the state as well as conducted regular supportive supervisory visit to primary health facilities. It followed this up with the Introduction of the use of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) amongst others.

The government has also taken the fight against malaria to every household in the state. In doing this, there have been replacement of 2.2 million Long Lasting Insecticide treated Nets (atleast 2 persons in every house has access to LLITN).

During the last world Malaria day, the state distributed bed nets to over 20,000 persons even as there was rapid diagnosis testing for malaria before treatment of 50,000 in all PHC across the state and outreaches.

About 1600 health workers have been trained in malaria case management and rapid diagnostic testing/data reporting.

To build the capacity of staff, government has trained 2586 Health workers on the state of malaria monitoring and evaluation of National Health Management Information system, Rapid diagnostic test for malaria. This was done in partnership with Global Funds.

Also, 2000 health workers have been trained on current management of diarrhoea in children as well as Supply 3000 Zinc and ORS to children in the State in response to the Diarrhoea outbreak in Yakurrr and Biase.

These and many more are some of the development initiatives of the Ayade government in the Primary Healthcare sector.

There is no gainsaying that these things wouldn't have been achieved without the high sense of responsibility demonstrated by the hardworking DG of the agency, Dr. Edu. The young woman has demonstrated dignity in service. She has shown that indeed what Cross River and Nigeria need to attain the height of development needed is having professionals in politics not professional politicians.

Apart from Cross River University of Technology, Institute of Management Technology (Two institutions that the government has refused to pay attention to but the development strides are unimaginable) and may be, Cross River State Signage and Advertising Agency,  there is no government institution or agency that seems alive in the state again apart from the primary healthcare agency. Nothing seems to be working but these few and the primary healthcare sector have been able to characteristically subdued the glaring confusion and incompetence running from the top to the bottom of the government to the barest minimum.

It's rather unfortunate and surprising that the Governor and Government have spent more time in ridiculously highlighting some voodoo projects rather than building on the achievements of the PH sector and the few others mentioned above. If the efforts and agility of the leadership of these institutions can be replicated in even 10 agencies, Cross Riverians perception of Ayade's government as a total failure and fiasco may change.

Would more agencies take a leap from the primary healthcare, CRUTECH,  IMT, Ugep and CRISSA to work for the poor masses or they would continue to talk without walking their talk like the governor? Only time shall tell.

The views expressed here are exclusively the opinion of the writer and does not represent the views of Fearless Reports. 

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