Cross River unveils plan on primary healthcare delivery

Eme Offiong, Calabar

The Cross River State Government has unveiled its action plan to make healthcare affordable for the core poor, women, children and the aged people in the state.

Deputy Governor of the State, Professor Ivara Esu performed the ceremony on behalf of the Governor, Senator Ben Ayade at the maiden edition of Cross River Health summit in Calabar

Professor Esu said that the policies were planning system frameworks for the overall development of the health sector, noting “it is critical that all implementing agencies and personnel are properly updated on their provisions”,he said.

According to Esu, the policies include “the Cross River State Health Policy; Cross River State Strategic Health Development Plan; Cross River State Human Resource for Health; Cross River State Multi-Year Operationalization Plan and Cross River State Tax Shifting Policy as well as Guidelines on Health Insurance”.

He also said that the summit is aimed at extending healthcare services  to the remote areas in the State and ensure good health for the people.

Professor Isaac Adewole commended the Cross River State Government for organizing the first ever summit for healthcare practitioners in the area. The minister who noted that the Nigerian Government has released 1.5 billion US Dollar grants to States for improvement in the primary health sector, urged stakeholders to utilize the funds for the benefit of the people.

He said “this administration is committed to de-congesting tertiary institutions in the country. That is why the Government released to States, including Cross River, a grant of 1.5 billion US Dollars in 2016 for upgrading of primary healthcare centres in all the political wards.

Since we must attain universal coverage, the Government will release more funds to States that utilize the grants properly. For any that misuse the grants, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will investigate and recover such funds and such a State would be black listed”.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Lanre Tejuosho lauded the Cross River State Ministry of Health for organizing the two day summit, which he said would chart a way forward in primary health care delivery.

Senator Tejuosho  also called for greater synergy between federal and state government on improving the current number of health centres in the country rather than build new ones.“I will suggest that rather than build new facilities, there should be collaboration between the State and Federal including the private sector to make existing facilities perform optimally and channel funds to other areas”, urged Tejuosho.

Earlier, the Minister of Health commissioned three coaster buses and hospital equipment donated by the World Health Organization to accredited schools of midwifery in Cross River.

Professor Adewole also laid the foundation for the construction of a special reference hospital in Calabar to enhance smooth implementation of the Cross River State affordable Healthcare insurance scheme known as AyadeCare.