By Elijah Ugani; Health Correspondent
The Cross River State Acting Governor, Prof. Ivara Esu, has commissioned a Public Health Emergency Operation Center in Calabar, the State capital.
While cutting the ribbon to officially open the center, Prof. Ivara stated that he desires a healthy Cross River State because health is wealth.
In his words, “It is often said that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation and in our circumstance, a healthy Cross River State, is a wealthy State.
“Cross River State has been making headlines for the right reasons, ranging from a drastic reduction in our maternal/mortality rate to the accreditation of our schools of nursing and midwifery as well as the development of the first ever toll free smart phones for the digitalization and management of our health information.”
Continuing the Acting Governor added that, “Recently, we launched the State health insurance scheme christened AyadeCare which has received accolades from both within and outside the country. This happened when the world is gathered at Geneva Switzerland to discuss Universal Health Coverage, back here in Calabar, we are already implementing and putting solid structures for it’s realization. This indicates our eagerness to remain front liners of healthcare delivery in the country.
“UNICEF has also recognized the State with the best child survival indices in the country. Recently, we produced the first Local Government Area in West Africa to obtain the Open Defecation Free validation and we are glad to announce that we now have four local governments in Cross River State that have obtained the ODF validation.” He said.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Center for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekeazu thanked the Cross River State Government for prioritizing health, noting that only few governors take health seriously.
Ihekeazu said, “Cross River State has faced some challenges of monkey pores, meningitis, this will provide the opportunity to help bring people together and the situation, it is a call to do even better.
“We have decided to prioritize States that are ready to work and Cross River State led by the Commissioner has demonstrated palpable capacity to work, that’s why we are here today, before we go to the difficult states that we are going to push them.”
In addition to the infrastructure and equipment provided for the center, the CEO announced that his team will stay back in Calabar for two weeks to support the State Team.
The first week will be intensive training while the second week will be mentorship program, and will connect the center gradually to the EOC in Abuja and other six states to communicate so that the center can be monitored from his office.
He also made available a brand new hilux vehicle for mobility.
Speaking earlier, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong said “It is a vision sought and vision achieved. I’m most delighted that this gathering will witness another phase of public health transformation in the state under my watch as the Commissioner for Health.”
Asibong further stated that, “The Public Health Emergency Operational Center is designed to meet all the needs of public emergencies. The Center links the LGAs, the State, the National and international information surveillance.
“The State is vast and strategically linked with international communities through the air, land borders and waterways. It is the fastest gateway for migration of infectious diseases, and currently the state harbors approximately 20, 000 asylum seekers from the Republic of Cameroon, exposing us to high risk of communicable diseases. Therefore our interventions in terms of surveillance should be topnotch and also go beyond infectious diseases.” She maintained.
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