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Ekiti free health care programme as a promise kept

Published by Tribune on Fri, 03 Aug 2012

The age-long wise crack- 'Health is Wealth as short as it is, explains the current revolution in the health sector of Ekiti State which encapsulates 'promise', 'will', 'hope', 'delivery' and 'wealth'.Health being a key social service is considered a crucial factor for rapid economic production. The free health programme of the Ekiti State Government under Dr. Kayode Fayemi, was flagged off on April 1, 2012 with the following components: free immunisation for children below five years; free Immunisation for Women of child bearing age against tetanus; free supply of micro nutrient supplements to children below five years and pregnant women; free treatment for ailments like malaria, acute diarrhea and acute respiratory tract infection with essential drugs for designated groups; Provision of health information i.e education and communication materials for effective prevention, control and management of communicable diseases and free treatment of all children below five years, pregnant women, senior citizens from 65 years and above, the physically challenged and people living with HIV/AIDSIn all the state-owned 293 primary health care facilities, 20 secondary, and one tertiary health facility spread over the 16 local government areas, the free health programme is being pursued with vigour with radical intervention programmes such as the free Health missions and surgical festivals to fast-track the realisation of the health agenda and keep morbidity at the minimum.It will be recalled that since January 2011 to date, Ekiti State Government has expended about N270 million on free Health services through a population based outreach model. Patients were screened and treated by medical personnel on outpatient services, dental care, health promotion, eye care and simple emergency services with the provision of essential drugs. A breakdown of the five editions of the free health missions conducted so far and beneficiaries shows that, January 2011 state-wide edition was held with about 27.4million naira with about 123,457 beneficiaries; the second edition held in June 2011 at a cost of about N55.1million naira with 23,145 people in Ekiti North Senatorial District. Also, the third edition which was held on October 31 through November 9, 2011 in Ekiti Central Senatorial District at N60 million naira had about 40,000 beneficiaries.Ekiti South Senatorial District played host to the fourth edition in December 2011 with over 41,000 beneficiaries at about N62 million naira while the recently concluded health mission, which is the fifth in the series, held on May 28 through June 6 2012 costed taxpayers N65 million naira with about 37,000 beneficiaries. About 264,000 people resident in Ekiti have been saved from the pangs of death from January to date, through the free health mission alone, aside from the teeming population being given quality medicare from the primary centres, secondary and tertiary health institutions in the state.There is also the implementation of the special consolidated salary scale for Medical Doctors and other health workers otherwise known as CONTISS and CONMESS for workers at the state level while modalities for implementation at the local government level is being finalised to checkmate abuse. This development of health infrastructure has boosted the morale of the medical workers to support the up-scale health initiatives of the Fayemi-led government for the ultimate benefit of the people. The large turnout of the people at each edition of the health mission, is a testament to the acceptability and practicability of the impact of the programme on their lives. The Medical Assistance Fund is another intervention that promotes health delivery. Under this, people with medical problems, apply for government assistance after scaling the verification tests to ascertain the genuineness of their application. The Medical Assistance Fund to date under Governor Kayode Fayemi has expended much on the ongoing steam of development in the Ekiti health sector boils down to one point. A promise kept and a burning desire to do a whole lot more in the development of the human capital, through viable health mechanisms and systems is tangential to a collective rescue mission.Adeagbo wrote in from the Ministry of Information and Civic Orientation, Ekiti State.
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