I congratulate my boss and the exemplary Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu,SAN on his recognition and the ACPN National Award 2020 conferred…
Akeredolu Has Transformed Health Sector To Deserve Another Tenure – Dr Akanbiemu
Secretary of Ondo State Primary Heath Care, Doctor Francis Adekoge Akunbiemu narrates the achievements of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in the primary health sector in the last three years. In an interview with Triangle News Media, he explains the position of primary and secondary health sectors before and during the administration of Akeredolu.
Can we mert you sir ?
I am the executive Secretary to the Ondo State Primary Health Care Agency.
What can you say about the revolution in the health sector of Ondo State?
Thank you so much. The health revolution in Ondo State especially in the area of service delivery and quality of care has received unprecedented intervention that have lead to improvement in health indicators in Ondo State. You will understand that the health system in Ondo State is built on a health triangle, the primary, secondary and the tertiary health system. Prior to this time, we have an usual triangle. What do I mean by that ? The system is such that the primary health care system that is supposed to be the one that should have provided for more than 70 percent of the population. That is what is currently happening now. But before this time, that picture was not completely where it was suppose to be. The focus then was more on the secondary health system in other words, we now have a narrow or place, a wider middle, which is the secondary and primary.
Over 70 percent population of Ondo State reside in rural or semi urban areas of the state and that is where access to health care delivery suppose to be the focus. But as at now, what we have is the health relationship. We have a better health care system and a functional tertiary system. You know we have a teaching hospital now. We have gone to that level of care.
Why is secondary health care given preference over primary health ?
The secondary health care has been given preference over primary health care system because there is proper funding. In last three years, the Govrrnor of Ondo State, Arakunrim Oluwarotimi Akeredolu(SAN) had approved for release about a billion for the Health Centers. Not only the health centers, both the General Hospitals and the Health Centers were given funds. This year again, funds have already be released to the facilities and what that means. Before this time, we were always talking about inadequate funding. But this is no more the case.
Do you have an idea of the fund so far released to the health sector ?
Thank you so much. I want to sincerely make this comment that the primary, secondary and tertiary health system of Ondo State is receiving appropriate support and funding. But before now, there were inequitable distribution of health resources such that more health resources were at the level of the urban areas . We cater for just less than 30 percent of the population of a country, state and local government. Besides that, many of our people are not aware of what they need to do to prevent diseases. In other words, there was no proper health promotion and health education for the people. a
Communities were not fully involved in the activity of the health system of Ondo State, especially at the primary health care level. Technology was not available and there was no inter sectoral collaboration.
Now in the last three years, government has addressed every of this area. You will be wondering why am mentioning these issues. Now, if you talk about equitable access or equitable distribution of health resources; Is it talking about building. We are talking about location of the health center. We are talking about human resources. We are talking about drugs availability. Now, in every part of Ondo State, we have 200 and 300 wards but there is no ward that do not have at least two heath centers. So, when we are talking of equitable distribution of health resources for people to be able to have access care, you have minimum of two per ward. Some people have up to three . We have 604 health centers that are now fully functional to the capacity you expect based on their level. We have tier 1, which is the smallest, you have tier 2, which is the next to that one, you have tier 3 that can take care of more than 40,000 population. Now, every aspect of Ondo State has health centers that are functional. In 2018 and 2019, Mr Governor distributed equipment to health centers across Ondo State. His first target were the big health centers while he later targeted 300 smaller health centers. We did it in such a way that every ward will have equipment. We were in Asaba for the National Conference of Health last year, someone said there is no state in Nigeria that has been able to provide life saying equipment. I stood up and I told them that Mr Governor distributed 360. Someone else asked if the health workers were trained and I answered in the affirmative.
Was the training mandated by Governor Akeredolu ?
Yes. The government said that they must be trained. Not only were they trained, they were also trained by foreign partner. Our health workers were taken to the Teaching Hospital where those Canadian experts trained them. So, Ondo State is the only State in Nigeria that was able to provide evidence. It is not a political statement, people were here when those equipment were distributed. We have the pictures. We have everything. If you go to the facility you will see them. So the equipment are there. Health facilities have been renovated in the last one year and renovation still continues. Not only that, standard laboratory was set up for the Local Government Areas to act as a reference laboratory because in a normal system which Ondo State has come to be now, we must have a reference laboratory that will act like mentor or reference point for others health centers or laboratories. We set up one standard labour which the National Primary Care of Health praised the state that this is the first state in Nigeria that has deliberately and purposefully strengthen primary health care to the level of introducing diagnostic capability of the health center. Not only that, human resources have also been posted because the funds had been release so much that the facilities now have money to engage qualified staff pending when we are going to conclude the process of bringing new addition human resources. Drugs are available and we are on the neck of all the workers to ensure that at no point in time must they lock their pharmacy units. There is thorough supervision every week, even at weekends; all of us are on top of it . In addition, it may interest you to know that before this government came to power, Ondo State was doing well but now we are doing better. National demographical survey did a recent analysis that show the performance of Ondo State from 2013. Apart from family planning, we have increase our scope . See, antenatal attendance from 2013, this is national information not my information. We were 78.6, now by 2018 we were 92.2. In terms of tetanus injection, we were in 60.9, now we are in 82 percent. In facility delivery and birth attendance, Ondo State was 67.2 in 2013 and we were 82.8 in 2018.
What’s the position of children immunisation in the state?
Children fully immunised records have gone beyond where it was. We are 86, even this one is not current record. The recent survey by National Health Agency in January 2020 shows that the government of Arakunrim Oluwarotimi Akeredolu(SAN) has greatly improved on the quality of health care and increased antenatal. So, the state is doing well. You can see green green green. We have Continuously remained the best in the whole of the South in terms of political commitment; that is why we are doing well in immunization.
Mr governor with his Commissioner for Health, Dr wahab Adegbero and the Special Adviser to Mr Governor on Health Matter, Dr Ajibayo Adeleye are providing leadership and the guide for us to achieve success in all the things we are doing.
What do you have to say on capacity building in the health sector of Ondo State in the last three years?
Capacity building is not our initiative. It is the governor’s initiative that we should go and train the health workers. So, on our own, I won’t say that we don’t have initiative, but the initiative is the directive which is more from the governor. Mine is just to carry out my lawful duties.
What special impact has Governor Akeredolu made in the health sector ?
Thank you. Mr governor has increased accessibility to health, to make health care service affordable and free to the vunerable group.
All is to ensure that the health care is doing better. If he has done this in his first term, you can be sure he will perform better in another term of office. He has also made it clear to us that we must perform and the more reason we are on our toes. The governor does not want and he won’t call you for anything. What he will only ask is the position of things in the health system. So, you can be sure the state is going to become the best in the nation.
Are there any special benefit for health worker?
As a health worker, not even health worker alone, you see your salary what else do you need. The benefit is that while lots of people are looking for job; but for those of us that have jobs and still get our salary as and when due. One can plan. If you want to build a house you go and take a loan from anywhere. You know at the end of the month, you will be able to pay back the loans unlike what was obtainable in the past. Before Governor Akeredolu came in, there was a time some of us wanted to take money for some little things, but banks declined on excuse that civil servants salary is not regular. You can send your children to school you of your choice because salary will be received at the end of the month.