By Chioma Obinna
Ondo State Government has explained the rationale behind its continued massive investment in the state health sector, saying, it was to ensure that the citizenry enjoy optimum health for maximum productivity. The Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, who gave the explanation while declaring open the State Council on Health meeting, weekend also disclosed that a bill on the State Health Insurance Agency is being drafted and would soon be forwarded to the Ministry of Justice.
Mimiko further explained that the development would assist in sustaining the health programmes of the present administration. Reasoning that the Council on Health meeting would give room to review the health sector reform and formulate policies for consolidation of health gains and development, the Governor stated that the law on confidential Enquiry into maternal Death was already on ground likewise the Primary Healthcare Development Medical Sciences, among others.
Mimiko, who added that the establishment of the University of Medical Sciences would sustain some of the initiatives in the health sector, called for the collective effort of all and sundry as this would go a long way in achieving a common goal. In his welcome address, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dayo Adeyanju, explained that the council on health meeting was aimed at showcasing some of the achievements recorded in the sector and equally produce a robust document for the system.
Adeyanju said meeting was a way of ensuring that key stakeholders in the health sector have input for documentation to further strengthen the system. Also, an International expert on universal Health coverage and progressive Health financing from the Chatham House, United Kingdom, Mr. Robert Yates, said that Ondo State is already achieving universal health coverage by providing free healthcare services to pregnant women and children age 0-5.
He also emphasized quality of healthcare and financing as critical aspects of UHC, stressing that government at all levels must be involved in driving the policy to success. In a communiqué issued at the end of meeting, the State Council of Health called on the government the state kidney Care Centre should be strengthened to be a resource and transplant centre. They also recommended that Mother & Child hospitals should be expanded to provide postgraduate training in Paediatrics.
“The Government should increase the intake of Schools of Midwifery & Nursing to 100 and the State should devise a mechanism for safer blood transfusion by equipping one comprehensive health centre and one secondary health centre per LGA Other recommendations include, all key institutional stakeholders such as the Ministry of Health, Hospital’s Management Board and the Ondo State Primary Healthcare Development Board should be strengthened to better perform their respective regulatory and implementation roles as regards the RBF in the state.
It is imperative to evolve standard means of evaluating our healthcare programmes & initiatives from time to time via internal evaluation mechanisms and the enlistment of independent & non-governmental assessors. While the effort of Healthcare workers in the State is greatly acknowledged, they should continually renew their commitment particularly as we anticipate a Universal Health Coverage in the near future.