The Health boss, asserted that the Governor Udom Emmanuel-led state government, whom he said has demonstrated strong commitment towards increasing access to quality health services through his investments in the health sector, has provided counterpart funding for and is working assiduously to ensure that the state can access the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund.
In furtherance of the Governor’s vision for a prosperous and viable workforce in the health sector which has birthed the Akwa Ibom State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Ukpong enthused that the Agency is operating the Primary Healthcare Under One Roof initiative which is part of a new governance reform to improve primary healthcare implementation in line with Sustainable Development Goals to achieve Universal Health Coverage.
The State Health Commissioner, further informed his audience that other than the massive transformation of tertiary and secondary healthcare facilities across the state in addition to the over 400 doctors and nurses recently recruited, the State government is currently employing 25 Specialist Consultant Physicians and a large number of Community Health based workers, Pharmacists as well as Laboratory Scientists to man the Primary Healthcare facilities.
Earlier in his remarks at the event which had the theme, “Keep The Promise,” the Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Martin Akpan, had said that with the giant strides of Governor Udom Emmanuel in the health sector and the support of Dr. Dominic Ukpong, whom he described as being addictedly committed to giving tangibility and solidity to the vision of Governor Emmanuel, Universal Health Coverage will soon be feasible in the state.
Dr. Akpan, who remarked that Akwa Ibom State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, is steadily executing its assigned mandate to ensure that Akwa Ibom people have access to quality and affordable healthcare services, enjoined relevant stakeholders in the sector to engage in robust synergy and collaboration for the good of the people.
The AKSPHCDA boss who used the occasion to enumerate some of the achievements of the Agency, solicited the deployment of some of the newly recruited medical doctors to the Agency for redeployment to help in the provision of professional healthcare in the rural areas of the state.
Also speaking, the World Health Organization representative at the event, Dr. Sylvester Agwai, said that WHO is a strong partner and voice for Universal Health Coverage to ensure that people are free from financial hardship in accessing healthcare, adding that in as much as the theme of the event was apt, relevant Agencies need more funding and trained workers to make UHC feasible.
The Executive Secretary of AKSPHCDA, Dr. Mrs. Eno Attah, commended the Community Health Base Initiative for the collaboration to organize the event and as well enjoined critical stakeholders to co-operate and take ownership of Primary Healthcare by way of multi-sectoral funding of same just as Board Members, Elder Sampson Unyeawaji and Prince Okon Attang also spoke in the same vein.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Chairman of the Board of Community-based Health Initiative, Chief Michael Akpabio, noted that UHC embodies equity in access to quality health services as well as ensuring that the cost of using health services does not put people at risk of financial harm.
Chief Akpabio, expressed optimism that the event will provide a platform to advocate for an effective high-level engagement that will improve the quality of health coverage in the state.
High points of the event, included a presentation on “Achieving UHC Through Effective Primary Healthcare” by Dr. Olugbemi Motilewa, who represented Dr. Christy Akwaowo as well as a session of discussion led by Dr. Anyiekere Ekanem of the Chartered Institute of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria, Akwa Ibom State branch, during which representatives of MDAs and organisations brain stormed on ways of achieving UHC in the state.
Highlights of the communique from the Dialogue include:
- Government should endeavor to provide basic health needs and as well speed up action on the Social Health Insurance Bill.
- Citizens should support government to succeed by carrying out their assigned responsibilities.
- Civil Society Organisations should promote advocacy for parents to present their children for immunization.
- Use of modern contraceptives should be encouraged
- HIV testing and consistent use of anti-retroviral drugs should be encouraged
- Ministry of Economic Development/relevant organisations of government should increase budgetary provision for the health sector.
Among those who graced the one-day Dialogue, were Board Members, Management and other staff of the Agency and Community-based Health Initiative as well as beneficiaries of the CBHI amongst others.