Cross River plans big for primary healthcare

Eme Offiong, Calabar

The Government of Cross River State in southern Nigeria says it will provide more equipment and facilities to care for the teeming women and children in rural communities.

Deputy Governor of the State, Professor Ivara Esu said this during the launch of the European Union Support to Immunization Governance in Nigeria, EU-SIGN Project in Calabar.

Professor Esu, who represented Governor Ben Ayade, remarked that from 2004 to 2009 the EU assisted the State in its fight against the polio virus, by immunizing thousands of children across the eighteen local council areas.

“In 2004 to 2009, the European Union was here to assist us in strengthen routine immunization of our children. That initiative, which was christened EU-Prime, that is European Union Partnership to Reinforce Immunization Efficiency – clearly help in the state-wide immunization coverage we attained at that time and we remain eternally grateful,” stated Professor Esu.

While reiterating the commitment of government to provide its counterpart contributions, Professor Esu appealed to the EU to complete all on-going projects in the State as one out of the 23 beneficiaries in Nigeria.

“I use these opportunity to urge the EU-SIGN to complete all on-going projects in the State such as our cold room and cold store system”, pledging to provide the necessary infrastructure to establish a robust primary healthcare system in Cross River State.

The Head of EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ambassador Michel Arrion described the event as a demonstration of Governor Ayade’s commitment to improve the health Status of women and children.

Arrion commended the Government for its “primary healthcare under one roof initiative” designed to promote efficient delivery and streamlining services, which is key to the EU-SIGN objective.

He said the European Union earmarked 63.5 million Euro from inception of the project in 2011 to its winding down in March, 2018 for the 23 beneficiary States in Nigeria.

Interventions

Also speaking, the Director General of the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Betta Edu explained that primary healthcare under one roof initiative of the Ayade administration would enhance immunization efficiency as well as end duplicity of functions in the sector.

Dr. Edu stated: “due to our commitment to providing the necessary partnership requirement, the European Union came back after the end of the EU-PRIME to support us for immunization and to bring primary healthcare under one roof”.

“What this means is that EU would bring in infrastructure, cold chain equipment, everything to help us have proper immunization delivery service. They would be bringing computers, vehicles and repair our cold store facilities. We already got delivery of 10 solar refrigerators. All is in support of what Governor Ayade was doing”, she said.

She added: “the Governor has approved a permanent site for primary healthcare agency, which would be renovated soon. This space will accommodate all the staff, all those involved in primary healthcare delivery, which were formerly in the local government and women affair. We are poised to have a comprehensive primary healthcare delivery system that would strengthen services for our people”.