By Elijah Ugani: Health Correspondent
Refugees fleeing the crackdown in Northwestern and Southwestern Cameroon by the government residing in Obanliku local government area of northern Cross River have hailed the administration of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River over his strides in ensuring that they are welcomed in the state.
The refugees disclosed this recently when the 2017 CrossRiverWatch Man Of The Year and commissioner for health in the state, Dr. Inyang Asibong embarked on a working visit to the General Hospital Sankwala, Obanliku where the refugees in the state are receiving intermittent medical treatment.
“We are grateful to the Cross River State Government for their hospitality,” said one of the refugees.
The refugees commended the state’s efforts in making them feel at home and providing them with the basic amenities to survive at no cost.
The state has received almost 20,000 refugees. And, Dr. Asibong in her remarks had expressed her satisfaction following the responses from some of the refugees currently on admission in the hospital for various medical reasons.
“I am very impressed by the level of commitment shown by the health workers and I’m also particularly satisfied with the results from some of the refugees despite the trauma of being forced out of their own home country to seek shelter elsewhere. The health-friendly Governor Ben Ayade is committed to providing quality and affordable healthcare for everybody across board; this is evident in the free medical services being provided for these refugees,” she said.
The Medical Superintendent of the Hospital, Dr. Vincent Oshie, thanked the State Government for its efforts towards upgrading the facility to the World Health Organization standard, and this has attracted a large number of clients from border communities to patronize the facility for their healthcare needs.
The clan head of Sankwala Urban, Chief Joseph Akusa who has been admitted in the hospital for about a week expressed his gratitude to the State Government for the facility, he said since his admission his health has improved tremendously and he was fit to go home.
The facility which is the only Government Secondary Health facility in the area has a Gen-Xpert machine for Tuberculosis cases, a functional eyecare center as well as an optical theatre for children and adults. Also, there is a recently renovated theater, an upgraded maternal ward, laboratory and pharmacy department where the refugees access medical services at no cost a statement from the health ministry read.
This comes on the heels of the state’s pledge to support the activities of the newly renovated medical center at the headquarters, 13 Brigade, Nigeria Army in Calabar where Dr. Asibong said that the state is happy to support the Army in ensuring the functionality and operationalizing of the facility to achieve maximum results.
“Despite protecting our territorial integrity, the Nigerian Army still deemed it important to protect the health and well-being of their host community,” Asibong said and assured that the state, “will support this Medical Center in ensuring full functionality and standard operationalization of all the various departments to achieving the desired results.”
Also, she averred that: “The Cross River State Government is about Universal Health Coverage, and this is another way of achieving the feat before the Year 2030 target.”
The facility which boasts a laboratory, a theatre, a pharmacy, male, female and children wards, a discharge lounge, an alternative source of power as well as a generally well ventilated environment forms part of the Army’s corporate social responsibility a statement from the health ministry said.
And, the Ground Officer Commanding the 82 Division of the Army, Major General AB Abubakar, said the Army has a policy that allows the host community to use their medical facilities as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility.
Abubakar averred that the Army owes it as an obligation to their host community to provide medical welfare especially to women and children less than 5 years and promised to lend his support to the optimal functionality of the medical center while seeking support from the state and other kind-hearted individuals present.
The Brigade commander, Brigadier General Ibrahim Isa, hinted that the project took about a year to reach completion, and that even though a lot has been done there’s still more work to be done!
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