Free Rural Program, Wada’s Special Place for Rural Dwellers by Abu Micheal

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Long before he became governor, Capt Idris Wada had conceived the plan to help the down trodden in meeting their health needs. Little wonder since his assumption in 2012, the free rural program of the government has grown from leaps and bound.

Kogi State Governor, Capt Idris Wada, while flagging off the 2015 first quarter free health care program in Avurugo, Igalamela Odolu LGA of the state, described health as his administration’s number one priority.

In 2014 for example, about 120,000 people were treated freely under the free health partnership program with CIDEO Rural Health Outreach, a Non governmental organization.

Capt Wada while inaugurating the centre and flagging off program said his administration will continue to give priority attention to rural Health based projects in view of the need it has to bring healthcare service delivery closer to mostly rural dwellers.

According to the governor, the normal healthcare service delivery programme would be sustained for the benefit of the people of the State and he expressed satisfaction with the quality of work at the Avurugo Hospital.

Capt Wada assured that despite the financial challenges affecting the state, the free rural program has continued to save lives, disclosing that ailment beyond the control of the teams are usually referred to other major hospitals in the state and across the country.

The inauguration of the MDG Rural Health Centre in Avurugo, the establishment of five Zonal Hospitals in Kabba, Okene, Ayingba, Ankpa and Idah and the on going construction of the Diagnostic Hospital Lokoja, the University Teaching Hospital in Anyigba, and efforts to ensure that every Local Government Area has a General Hospital are the present administration’s modest efforts aimed at improving the health sector and needs of the people as explained by Capt Wada.

As part of meeting the yearning of the people, the governor disclosed that his administration embarked on rural transformation policy, especially as it has to do with the provision of water, electricity, roads and health centres. The governor charged the people of the area to protect the facility provided by government and to ensure it optimal usage.

The governor disclosed that his administration has built over 436 different projects across the Wards of the state, added that he has also given out Micro credit grant to Cooperative Societies to empower the people.

In a remarks, Mrs Angela Okatahi, of CEDIO Outreach, Dr Onuche, the CMD of the University Hospital and Hon Haliru Abdul, S.A MDGs, praised the governor for been a health friendly governor.

While Mrs Okatahi, said about 20,000 persons were treated by the team in Igalamela Odolu. Dr Onuche said major surgeries and ailments treated by the team included hiania, goitha, fibroid and hypertension among others.

Hon Haliru said an Ambulance, and a bore hole that will enable the Avuruogo health centre meets its objectives would be provided by the state MDGs.

In a remarks, Hon Friday Makama, Member Representing Igalamela Odolu in the Kogi State House of Assembly, assured the governor of the support of people of the area. The Lawmaker described the governor’s gesture to the people as historical, promised the people’s massive support for his political aspiration.

Also speaking, Ali Atabor, SSA, Joe Iduh who spoke on behalf of the community, said it was the first time the community will be visited by a governor and to inaugurate projects, assured the governor of the areas continuous loyalty to his political cause.

It would be recalled that since coming on board, notable flagship programme of the Wada administration in the area of health has remained the free medical care programme.

For example, in 2013, about 115,000 people were treated freely. This number does not include the surgeries,eye treatment and other interventions contained in the rural programme.

Similarly, the commencement, flag-off and introduction of pentavalent vaccine by the Wada administration has greatly assisted in the fight to eradicate polio in the State. The state since 2010 has remained polio free.

All existing health facilities in the state are being strengthened through standard equipment purchase even as new general and cottage hospitals are being constructed across the State.

Aside the massive renovation and rehabilitation of all General Hospitals across the State,  this is also accompanied with the purchase of standard hospital equipments to enable the hospitals carry out primary and secondary functions of meeting the health needs of the people.

The on-going construction, and massive equipping, of the Kogi State Diagnostic and Imaging Centre Lokoja, when completed is expected to assist greatly in the diagnosis of ailments by medical practitioners.

Mention must also be made about the rehabilitation of the State Central Medical Stores Lokoja and the efforts in renovating the National Blood Transfusion Service Centre .

Furthermore, government’s support for the upgrade in the infrastructures going on at  the Schools of Nursing and Midwifery, Egbe, Yagba West Council, while also providing additional staff to the ECWA Hospital, Egbe on government’s head cost, is worth mentioning. Similarly,  accreditation of courses in institutions to enable them award ND and HND certificates is another bold step at improving the heath sector of the state.  Again, the school of Medicine at the State University Ayingba is now operational.

The massive employment of a large pool of Medical and Health Personnel made up of Doctors, Nurses and other Paramedics, into the health sector of the State is part of Captain Wada’s avowed commitment to the well being and good health care of the people.

The policy of also distributing long lasting insecticidal mosquito nets across the State, an intervention aimed at tackling malaria, an increasingly endemic disease in tropical Africa cannot be over stressed. This is further complemented with the administration’s prompt payment of all its counterpart funds for HIV/AIDS related activities and in other enhanced health care delivery counterpart services signed by the State.

Abu Micheal writes this piece is the Chief Press Secretary to Kogi State Deputy Governor.

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