A’Ibom Speaker Identifies Healthcare Challenges in Nigeria

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…makes case for strong institutions

The Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Barr Onofiok Luke, has said that for Nigeria to access universal health coverage, the issue of policy summersault must be properly addressed.

Onofiok Luke said this while briefing course participants from the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Jos, on Tuesday, May 15, during an interactive session at the House of Assembly complex, Uyo.

He noted that the country can only make meaningful progress in healthcare delivery and other sectors if strong institutions were put in place to sustain and implement government policies and programs.

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“Number one challenge we have is policy summersault. A new government will come with their new policy and jettison the policies of previous government, and the policies are jettisoned to the detriment of us all. A time has come that we begin to ensure strict compliance and sustainability of the policies we craft over a period of time, and that calls for strong institutions”.

Commending past governments and the current administration of the State for sustaining and improving on healthcare delivery, Barr. Luke told the NIPPS course 41 participants that the legislature in the state has been cooperating with the executive to push-up health care delivery in Akwa Ibom State.

“Long before today, governments in this state from the administration of Arch. Obong Victor Attah in1999 has paid premium to the healthcare of its citizens. There is Free and compulsory health program for the aged, pregnant women and children under 5. Attah introduced it and it worked, the former Governor, Akpabio took over and improved upon it. Governor Udom Emmanuel, having seen its workability, decided to improve upon it and we decided as a legislature to move it from policy formulation to legislation.

“We have backed up the free medical services which could be termed, health financing. The government has done a lot of work in the area of health infrastructural development. Health centres, hospitals are being renovated and equipped”, he said.

Earlier, the spokesperson for the course participants from NIPSS, Rear Admiral Eluwa, said they were in the state and specifically in the Assembly to understudy the contribution of the 6th assembly to health care delivery in the state.

He informed the Speaker that the topic of focus “Funding of Universal Healthcare Delivery in Nigeria” was chosen by President Muhammadu Buhari, which he said was a demonstration of the regards the President has for healthcare delivery in the country.

Eluwa further revealed that they have visited 12 states in the country to know how they are managing healthcare delivery in respect to funding with equal visitation to Ministries, Departments and Agencies that formulate and implement policies.

In attendance during the courtesy call were members of the House of Assembly including the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Felicia Bassey; House Leader, Sir Udo Kierian Akpan; Chief Whip, Hon. Emmanuel Ekpenyong; Hon. Friday Iwok, Hon. Mark Esset, Hon. Usoro Akpanusoh, and Hon. Otobong Jonathan. Members-elect were Mr. Kufreabasi Edidem, Dr. Charity Ido, and Mr. Ekwere to represent Itu, Ukanafun and Mkpat Enin state constituencies respectively.

Among the course participants were the team Leader, Rear Admiral A. Eluwa, Ambassador Usman Sarki, Dr. Muritala Oke, Group Captain Ekomobong Akpabio, Musa A. Garba, Prof. Mohammed Mainowa, Mrs. Salamatu Abubakar and Barr. Balarabe Paloma, Capt. Ahmed Rabiu, Gabriel Orjito, Dr. Dayo Ayooala, Olufunke Jimi among others.

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