DEPTH is yet to top the list of government of the day! Only Nyesom Ezenwo Wike can fix the health sector in Nigeria
According to the 2021 World Health Organisation (WHO) health system ranking, Nigeria is placed at 163 out of 191 countries. Although, an improvement in contrast to the previous ranking, the sector still leaves much to be desired.
The lack of political will to transform the sector has led to a lack of confidence in the sector, increasing medical tourism by the elite class, diverse unregulated black markets, quackery within the sector, a massive brain drain from the sector, etc.
Despite calls for the implementation of the National Drug Distribution Guidelines and the adoption of the DEPTH project for Universal Health Coverage before 2030; the sector is yet to top the priority list of the Government of the day.
A WIKE presidency however spotlights the political will to change the Health Sector for the better through sustainable investment in Human and Capital resources, while progressively improving regulatory compliance and framework, as well as expert opinion. Since becoming Governor of Rivers State, the State's health sector has undergone massive improvement in areas of robust engagement with sector players, training of medical personnel and students, administrative discipline, infrastructural investments, etc.
The WIKE administration is rehabilitating over 13 of the State's general hospitals with most of the rehabilitation works at advanced stages in most hospitals.
- General Hospital, Abua
- General Hospital, Okrika
- Opobo General Hospital
- Nchia General Hospital, Eleme
- General Hospital Bodo City
- General Hospital, Degema
- Ngo General Hospital, Andoni
- General Hospital, Buguma
- General Hospital Emohua
- General Hospital, Isiokpo
- Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Rumuigbo
- Rehabilitation of Deutak Mavillo Facial hospital
- Rehabilitation of Prof. Nelson Harrison Hospital
- Eberi General Hospital, Omuma
- Government House Clinic
When completed the hospitals, especially the Zonal Hospitals of Bori, Etche, Ahoada, and Degema, will better provide tertiary and secondary healthcare to the people and also sustain healthcare at the grassroots.
The Wike-led administration has also re-equipped the Braithwaite Specialist Memorial Hospital in Port Harcourt to meet the challenges of modern medicine. Among investments at the hospital by the State Government is the Doctor's quarters, to ensure that selected practitioners have decent accommodation as they serve the people.
The Wike-led government has also completed the previously abandoned Mother & Child hospital with the hope of tackling maternity issues and other relayed issues.
Wike's passion for the health sector has seen over N25 Billion investment in the construction of the Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centre, Port Harcourt. A move aimed at checkmating medical tourism in the State and the country at large.
The state government is also constructing departmental buildings at the Rivers State University. The buildings, which are for the Basic Clinical Sciences and Clinical Sciences, Renal and Pathology Departments, are required for the state university to become a full-fledged teaching hospital.
His administration is also recruiting consultants and medical officers in a move aimed at providing the professional manpower to drive the revival of the health sector. His administration had also invested huge amounts of resources in promoting medical education in the state, particularly with the establishment of the Rivers State University College of Medical Sciences and the annual award of scholarships to 130 indigenes studying medicine at PAMO University of Medical Sciences. “You’ll agree that I have provided the necessary funds for all whatever you requested to give a standard medical college. Our partnership with PAMO is very interesting. Every year the Rivers State government offers scholarships to indigenes. This year we have approved 130.”
No doubt, all hands must be on deck to change the narrative within the sector, but also, there is the need to endorse and support a man (Wike) who has shown great prospects in changing the narrative by leading from the front.
Ojukwu Stephen is the Special Assistant on New Media to Amb. Desmond Akawor, State Chairman of PDP, Rivers State Chapter.