By Jonathan Ugbal
The Cross River State Government has unveiled an emergency transport service (ETS) for the health sector to check increasing maternal mortality rates and other negative health indices in a bid to achieve its universal health coverage goal.
This will compliment the almost 1,000 units of toll free smart phones designed in collaboration with FHI360 which aimed at integrated health information and facilitate easy data sharing with relevant authorities.
The state is yet to see a reduction in maternal mortality rates in over 3 years despite so much publicity about achievements in the health sector.
The ETS was unveiled during a multi-sectoral town hall meeting in Obudu in collaboration with Pathfinder International as past of activities marking the Safe Motherhood Week that was flagged off at three points on Monday as part of the Saving One Million Lives Program for Result Initiative.
The Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Esu had flagged off the program in Ugep, Yakurr while the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong flagged off the week in Ogoja for the northern senatorial district with the Director General of the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Betta Edu doing same in Akamkpa.
The town hall meeting aimed at discussing issues plaguing the health sector and proffering solutions to challenges as well as intimate residents of plans to build the Ayadecare referral centers which the Paramount Ruler of Obudu, Uti Joseph Agba said he was committed to the project.
“I assure you of our support in this project and other activities of the government. We are to happy hear this and I want to assure you that my subjects will readily accept what you have given to us.
“I want to assure you that we shall give our heart and soul to support and give you your expectations.
“We are really very grateful to you and the government that Obudu should be given one of the first opportunities and I want to assure you that we will make good use of it,” Mr. Agba said.
Meanwhile, the toll free smart phones will ease communication between health facilities in the state said the Program Manager of FHI360, Dr. Henry Ayuk while presenting the devices to Dr. Asibong.
Ayuk lauded the collaboration and said the idea to ease communication between health facilities will in turn result to better healthcare delivery system across board and expressed willingness to continue its partnership with the state.
Cross River is home to over 1,013 primary health facilities with less than 800 fully functional.
And, Dr. Asibong said the device which was another first in the annals of the state have been programmed to make and receive calls, send Short Messaging Service (SMS) and surf certain web pages at no cost.
The distribution has already begun with emphasis on the hinterlands and hard to reach communities.