On COVID-19 in Kogi State

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I have watched with deep interest, the interactions, exchange of words, management styles plus working relationship that existed between Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Kogi State Government and the management of Federal Medical Centre Lokoja. Not just because I am a Kogite but I needed to understand what it takes to manage complex health care system in a state like ours and my interest in strengthening health care considering my growing education and training in that sector. 

I believe beyond political, economic and other interests, the future health and welfare of Kogi people, her health institutions, her intertwined health workers relationship and other critical sectors should be managed rightly for present and future efficiency beyond this pandemic season.

First, I think the Federal Government of Nigeria should have created policies that allows the State Governors, through the Commissioner for Health who serves as the Chief Epidemiologist, have a great connecting policy of working relationship with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and NCDC at each state level because they are both at the fore front of health care system this season. Rather than him alone taking decisions that might not be completely in resonance with the situation on field and marred by political influence and choices. 

Two, while this started I remembered vividly that I clearly made my voice heard on the social media that rather than approach the issue with usual political kangaroo nature, strategic containment and preventive approach should be employed which result was the controversy that kept trailing the situation and resulted over time in the recent shut down of Kabba-Bunu LGA where an alleged COVID-19 case was recorded.

I kept quiet at a point when the controversy started brewing between relevant agencies. 

Three, I have observed with dismay and surprise when the Commissioner for Information churn out some information downgrading the status of Federal Medical Centre Lokoja on managing the COVID-19 issue. I am not here to hold brief for anyone cos that’s not my job, but to point to the only Federal Medical Centre in the State in such manner is dangerous for public health value, impact and very unethical. Either we like it or not the institution is solving health care challenges rightly too in the past and present in collaboration with the state government efforts in the state

COVID-19 would be over, how do we manage the working relationship for other critical issues in public health interest?.

Finally, no where in the world is health care system mashed in controversy and trade of words carelessly because the goal is not the gladiators but the citizens and beneficiary.

I want to plead that the Kogi state government should in spirit of urgency further strategically form more better working collaboration for efficiency and standard for now and future. And allow for better strengthening of the faith of our citizens in the health care system more in the state and for better efficiency because ‘health is wealth’ and better IGR generation in that critical important sector. 

– Julius Akinrinde Jplus writes from Kogi state.

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