The Federal Government says it is providing one point five billion naira as immediate intervention in four north east states affected by the Boko Haram Insurgency.
Speaking at the Government House in Gombe, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Folorunso Adewole, said the amount would come before the submission of the official report on the health needs of the state, which is expected within one week.
He said it would be shared by Gombe, Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, to upgrade the health facilities in those states affected by insurgency.
“The 1.5 billion is money appropriated by our ministry to take care of people in the four states of Adamawa, Borno, Yobe and Gombe. We will use it essentially to upgrade healthcare facilities and make sure we are able to provide help for our people,” said the Minister of Health.
According to the Minister of Health, the visit to Gombe and the three other insurgency affected states in the north east, was to assess the health facilities and know the areas of intervention, so that the Federal Government can act accordingly.
Prof. Adewole also commended the efforts of the Gombe state government in using its healthcare facilities to accommodate people affected by insurgency from neighbouring states, who come into the state to access healthcare services.
The North East State of Gombe has since been accommodating people displaced by insurgency from parts of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States.
As part of the support to the victims of this menace, the displaced people access various facilities in the state, one of which is the health facilities in Gombe.
According to the Acting Secretary to the Gombe State Government, Mr. James Pisaghi, medical facilities in the state have been overstretched, because of increase in population, as displaced people troop into the state.
Mr. Pisaghi therefore asked the Federal Government to upgrade the medical facilities available in state, so as to cover the internally displaced people.
The Acting Secretary to the Gombe State Governor, particularly asked the Federal government to intervene in upgrading the Snake Bite Hospital, located in Kaltungo Local Government, which accommodates snake bite patients from other parts of the country.
“We have Snake Bite Hospital in Kaltungo. It’s a hospital that needs to be equipped; it’s a hospital that needs to have drugs all the time. 75% of the patients in that hospital, Honourable Minister Sir, come from the neighbouring states… so on both fronts, patients for snake bites, patients for insurgency activities, IDPs and so on and so forth, on the same state, this is overstretched. We believe your intervention will bring succour to Gombe State,” said Mr. Pisaghi.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Folorunsho Adewole, said he and his delegation wanted to assess firsthand what the various needs of various health facilities in the state were, before any intervention would be provided.
After inspecting some health facilities, including the Federal Teaching Hospital, the Minister of Health said the visit had opened their eyes to the needs of the health facilities in Gombe.
“The important thing is that, going round, has enabled us to have a firsthand experience as to what our people are going through.
At the settlement of the IDPs, we are able to appreciate what they need. There’s need for water, they even asked for school and health facility and to me that is very touchy, particularly when our people recognise the need for schools.
I think there is hope for this country, that even those who are lowly placed, they want their children to be educated. So to me, that is a sign of good things to come. We visited a military facility, which also dampened my spirit; we will do something to help them improve what they have. It’s quite touchy,” the Minister of Health said.
The Chief Medical Director of the Federal Teaching Hospital, Dr. Abubakar Sa’id, told journalists the needs of the hospital, which he had shared with the Health Minister.
“Right now, we have only three theatre suites in the hospital. We have over 20 surgeons, but they can’t operate. So if we have more theatre suites, then the surgeons can be operating at the same time. Of course our Accident and Emergency Unit is very small, … so he has seen the need for us to have an extension of the Accident and Emergency, that we don’t have to be using on a daily basis, but when we have mass casualty, we can open so that we can take more patients at a time. And of course it goes without saying, the facilities we need to resuscitate patients, we need more, said Dr. Sa’id.
Meanwhile, the minister announced the donation of one ambulance to the State Emergency Management Agency and another to soon follow, for the Federal Teaching Hospital in Gombe, which he said would help take care of the internally displaced people in Gombe State.
Also, the minister commissioned a Polymerase Chain Reaction Laboratory at the Gombe Federal Teaching Hospital.
According to the Chief Medical Director, the laboratory will help reduce the stress on patients, who travel further away to Jos or Kaduna to detect the presence and number of virus there are in a patient, which will then determine the kind of treatment the patient can get.