By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade has said that a seed fund of NGN1 billion Naira has been paid into a bank account as a seed fund for the construction of 18 Ayadecare referral hospitals in the state.
Mr. Ayade disclosed this Thursday,l in Calabar, when he hosted partners in the Cross River State health sector when they presented medical equipment to the state to aid healthcare delivery especially in maternal and child health at the executive council chambers of the governors office.
The Governor commended the donors for the equipment and said that the referral hospital coupled with the state health insurance scheme tagged ‘Ayadecare’ will lead a revolution in healthcare service delivery.
However, Mr. Ayade called for a review in the way donor agencies operate and maintained the system where the size of the counterpart funds determines which states gets a larger share was against the ideals of the agencies.
He pointed out that the states with the least income often were more prone to negative health indices and called on them to shift focus.
Also, Mr. Ayade said with what he saw, he became eager to address the issues raised by some of the partners including the review of the laws governing the state health tertiary institutions as well as counterpart funding for immunization.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong said that the strides made by the current administration has been noted worldwide which is why he was the only Nigerian governor invited to the World Health Organization summit on neglected tropical diseases held earlier in the year in Geneva, Switzerland.
“The Cross River State has broken boundaries because there is no box. We think like there is no box and we act like there is no box,” said Dr. Asibong who maintained that the state’s goal is in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3 which is to ensure healthy lives and affordable healthcare delivery.
Explaining the benefit of the portable ultrasound equipment, Mrs. Asibong said that it will be a key equipment in the home health component of the Ayadecare.
Also, she said the strides made by the state in maternal health was very visible as maternal mortality rates have dropped from 572 out of every 100,000 births to 156 out of every 100,000 births in less than two years.
Meanwhile, Dr. Aliyu Yakubu who represented the United Nation’s agencies said that the UN investment as at last year was NGN125 million which saw maternal health commodities distributed to over 150 health facilities.
He pleaded for government to implement its counterpart funding for immunization activities and tasked the state to complete projects at the state school of nursing and midwifery.
He pledged the UN’s support for the institution through the provision of computers and books.
And, Dr. Henry Ayuk who represented the United States Agency for International Development in his remarks said that the agency has been in the state for nearly 2 decades and noted that the equipment presented showed the state has raised the bar in the health sector.
He said that the FHI 360 has managed to reduce HIV prevalence from 12% to between 3-5% with about 25,000 people living with HIV/Aids currently receiving treatment.
Mr. Ayuk said the mobile phones donated by USAID will be distributed to over 930 health facilities which will help in the monitoring of patients.
He called for the state to complete the ongoing projects in the school of Nursing and Midwifery and promised that the USAID agencies will provide computers and books for learning.
The manager commercial and primary health care for General Electric healthcare, Dr. Chinedu Ogu said that a number of solutions have been highlighted from the equipment presented.
She said that the deployment of “task shifting” will make healthcare delivery much more efficient.
“One of the things we are quite enthused about is the deployment of health equipment in Nigeria and out of the four states that were chosen, Cross River State was selected because of its maternal and child healthcare indices,” she said and urged the state to not focus on only primary health, but the entire health sector.
The items presented to Mr. Ayade include solar systems, portable ultrasound scan machines, smartphones with free call and data for information sharing, mama kits, bags and policy documents.
The policy documents included the Cross River State health policy, the human resource for health strategic plan, task shifting/sharing policy for essential services, quantification briefs and case studies for Cross River State, traditional birth and faith based birth attendants in Cross River State, the 2014 Family planning situation analysis in Cross River State among others.
Below are more images from the event.