463 views | Kenneth Uwadi | April 14, 2021
Cheques for the sum of two hundred and eighty-eight million naira were on Tuesday, handed over to various religious denominations in Anambra State, for upgrade of infrastructure in their health facilities.
Governor of Anambra state, Chief Willie Obiano presented the cheques as ‘GRANT- IN- AID’ to the faith based hospitals at a ceremony at Professor Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka.
At the ceremony, 42 hospitals owned by the Roman Catholic Mission received N198m, 26 hospitals owned by the Anglican Mission got N61m while 1 Pentecostal Hospital received N30m.
Governor Obiano while handing out the cheques, detailed the interventions of his administration in the health sector.
Obiano revealed that before he assumed office in 2014, mission hospitals were the only active secondary healthcare providers in the state but he worked to revive some general hospitals by remodeling, equipping them, recruiting doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers.
“The first set of medical students of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University could not graduate after spending ten years for a course that was supposed to take six years in the school. We worked assiduously and secured every required accreditation within months. Same with College of Health Technology Obosi and School of Nursing, Nkpor,” the governor said.
Obiano also recanted stories of how pregnant women were carried on wheel barrows to health centers and how he changed the face of primary healthcare centers in the state.
“We established Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency and I approched Dr. Innocent Chukwuma of Innoson and we procured about 430 Keke ambulances from him, fully equipped and shared to all the PHCs in the state,” he boasted.
Governor Obiano informed that his administration has donated about N2.4b as “Grant in Aid” to mission hospitals from 2014 till date and therefore urged the church to continue supporting the state.
Earlier in his address, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Vincent Ogochukwu Okpala said Governor Obiano has done marvelously well on the six building blocks of health.
He noted that the bane of healthcare delivery anywhere is Healthcare Financing which the Governor achieved when he established Anambra State Health Insurance Scheme(ASHIA).
“Our health insurance scheme is among the top three most performing health insurance agencies in the country. We have a capable leadership managing that very important Agency of Government. With only N12000, you can access quality and affordable healthcare services anywhere in the state.
He continued, “Today, states are coming to copy from us because we are doing well. Anambra qualified among the first set of states that benefited from the National Healthcare Provision Fund. Beneficiaries are evenly distributed across the PHCs, towns and Local Government Areas of the state. That was possible because of the huge investments of Governor Obiano in Health”.
Dr. Okpala thanked Governor Obiano for his visionary leadership of the State and commended mission hospitals especially Immaculate Heart Hospital Nkpor, Immaculate Heart Specialist Hospital, Aguleri, Iyi Enu Mission Hospital and St. Charles Borromeo for their support during the peak of coronavirus pandemic in the state.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of ASHIA, Dr. Simeon Onyemaechi buttressed the import of faith based hospitals in delivering quality healthcare services to the people.
Dr. Onyemaechi who is also a Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, pointed out that the church is a strong partner of the state on a lot of fronts.
“Private hospitals account for about 70% of the health delivery system while the Church alone has about 40% of that figure, thus making them major stakeholders in the healthcare sector,” he quipped.
Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, Reverend Father Vincent Okala Abanogu, the Chief Executive Officer of Immaculate Heart Multi-Specialty Hospital, Aguleri expressed happiness over the gesture, saying that what the governor has done will go along way in boosting the morale of mission hospital healthcare workers.
Dignitaries that attended the event included, Secretary to State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, State Head of Service, Barr. Harry Udu, Bishop Hillary Okeke of the Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, the Deputy Speaker, Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Dr. Paschal Agbodike, the Obi of Onitsha and Chairman, Anambra State and South East Traditional Rulers Council, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, Anambra State Executive Council members, the clergy, among others.