//Godwin Ekosin, Kaduna, N/w Nigeria//
Weeks after taking over the state of affairs in Kaduna state, Governor Nasir El-Rufai organised a Health summit aimed at tackling the deplorable state of the health sector he met in the state.
The Governor was troubled by the poor health indices of the State for example that shows “only 35.5% of children, 12 – 23 months were fully immunized, 32.4% of pregnant women delivered in health facilities, infant and under five mortality of 115 and 180 per 1,000 live births respectively (MDG Survey 2013)”.
Consequently, the health summit identified revitalization of the primary health care system as the key intervention required in achieving the desired result and turn around the health indices in the state.
As a state Government Committed to Providing Better Health for its people and in line with the federal government’s vision to achieve Universal Health Coverage and sustainable health development for all Nigerians, the State Ministry of Health and Human Services started working on several priorities in line with the government’s mandate towards achieving universal health coverage and sustainable healthcare development in the state.
One of the priorities was the partnership between the Kaduna state government and global corporate giant General Electric (GE) aimed at equipping 278 health care facilities in the State.
According to the government, this is the biggest ever refit of the public healthcare infrastructure in the state, adding that it represents the “State Government’s effort to provide a comprehensive solution to the healthcare challenges in the state, including maternal and infant mortality, communicable illnesses and the problems caused by the growth of chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancer”.
Speaking at the launch of the GE partnership at Sabon Tasha General Hospital, the State Governor said it is a priority to improve health outcomes for ordinary people and to achieve this goal, “Kaduna State is striving to improve primary healthcare for all people, while at the same time, improving the quality and readiness of health service delivery by ramping up the supply and quality of health professionals”.
He continued that “Under the partnership between GE and Kaduna State, 255 primary health centres will be equipped along with 23 general hospitals across the state. The programme also includes a package of training for the healthcare professionals and a three-year maintenance agreement for the equipment. The project will deliver at least one refitted hospital in each of the 255 wards in the state.
“The Kaduna State Government is seeking better health outcomes for its people. This partnership with GE will accelerate the development of our health facilities and equip them to deliver better services. The equipment, technologies and training our state is getting under this partnership will help to improve standards of maternal and infant care, implant safer surgical standards and raise our capacity for disease prevention and infection control.”
He added that “As one of the largest states in Nigeria, with a growing population many of whom live in the rural areas, Kaduna is innovating through comprehensive approaches that improve health facilities and equipment, service delivery, clinical protocols and patient referrals. Given its track record, we are delighted to be working with GE in deploying this first-of-a-kind programme.”
On his part, Farid Fezoua, CEO of GE Healthcare Africa, said “GE applauds the Kaduna State Government for its vision to improve health care for the citizens”.
Kaduna State is putting units of relevant medical technology including ultrasound, heart monitors, neonatal incubators and anaesthesia machines – into the hands of our health workers. Ultrasounds are used to detect a range of conditions. It improves the accuracy of tests conducted on the foetus when pregnant women undertake ante-natal visits and can aid early detection of and referral of pregnancy complications. V-Scan Access assists primary healthcare workers – such as midwives, general practitioners, paramedics and clinical officers – in low-resource settings to provide information to the user during pregnancy assessments.
“The heart monitoring devices will address cardiovascular screening issues and improve the management of high blood pressure, cholesterol or high blood glucose. GE’s basic cardiac screening device connect hearts to digital ECG, helping clinicians test more patients in less time.
“The multi-year partnership between Kaduna State and GE will increase access to essential technologies for better maternal and infant care, heart screenings to tackle the rise of cardiovascular illnesses and improved care during surgeries.This combination of new technology, maintenance and training will improve healthcare outcomes in Kaduna State, he said.
Also speaking at the gathering, Dr Paul Manya Dogo , state commissioner for Health said, “Primary health care is the cornerstone of our national health policy and the foundation of any strong health system. This is why intervention at this level of healthcare system will yield great return on investment by way of improving the health status of residents of the State.
He said, “By the 1st of September, 2015, the new law on primary healthcare was signed by Governor Nasir El -Rufai ,this paved way for the needed revitalization of primary health care system. The State has implemented the policy on primary health care under one roof with the transfer of primary health care staff and health facilities to the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency”.
The General believe is that, Primary healthcare is a patient’s first point of contact with the health system, where most cases, illnesses or conditions can be diagnosed and treated and a serious attention at this level will go a long way in tackling the myriad of health problems in the society.