Rebuilding Health Facilities In The North-east
It is commendable that the Federal Government has approved a Task Force to rebuild health care infrastructure in the North-East region with mandate to restore facilities that have been destroyed by Boko Haram insurgency within six months. The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who announced the development recently, affirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari had given the nod to the Task Force as part of the strategy to scale up health care service delivery in the region. This has become important considering the daunting humanitarian and health challenges in the North-East. Prof. Adewole made the disclosure during a tour of some of the North-East states to ascertain the level of damage perpetrated by the Boko Haram sect. He also explained that the Task Force would look at health, nutrition, water and environmental challenges and provide quick solutions to the problems. The minister also revealed that the Task Force is being coordinated by the office of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, while the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma is the chairman. He further said that each of the components, water, health and environment will be headed by a minister. The Minister of Health will coordinate health and nutrition components of the Task Force. The Task Force would work in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states but with more emphasis on Borno State. Adewole said that the budget for the programme had been approved and the Task Force is now developing the work plan to swing into action and provide the necessary facilities in the states. We laud the decision of the government to make the Task Force work under the umbrella of the presidential initiative for the North-East that would soon be inaugurated by President Buhari. It is good that the government has established this Task Force that would revive the dilapidated health infrastructure of the North-East geo-political zone. We also commend the Federal Ministry of Health for providing health commodities worth about N1.2 billion to Borno State. The first consignment is already in Maiduguri while the second batch will follow later. We urge members of the Task Force to pursue the assignment with utmost patriotism and urgency. No doubt, the people of the region had suffered on account of failing health infrastructure due to the insurgency. Now that the Federal Government has waded into the problem, we ask the Task Force team to be diligent in seeing that the job is well executed. All the funds mapped out for the project must be judiciously utilized. Let the Task Force improve on the health facilities and add new ones where necessary. We also urge the affected states of the North-East to work with the Federal Task Force to ensure that the objectives of rebuilding the health infrastructure in the zone are accomplished within the stipulated deadline of six months. While there is urgent need to improve on the health infrastructure of the North-East, we also ask the government never to neglect the health infrastructure needs of the other geo-political zones in the country. We believe that the Federal and state governments should lay emphasis on further developing the Primary Health Care system in the country. The local governments should not be left out as well. They should contribute their own quota to the health development of the country. We say this bearing in mind that about 70 percent of the nation’s disease burden can be located in the arena of primary health care system. If the government gets it right at the primary care level, the rest will be easy to deal with. While the government has given the task Force six months to deliver on the given objectives, we believe that if there is need to give them more time, government should not hesitate to do so. All the same, let the Task Force pursue the work with utmost vigour. Source: The Sun, 5th November 2016.
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