By YAKUBU E. BAYAMBE
I find it absolutely expedient to interrogate the mid-term score card of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya given the long list of accomplishments attributed to his administration which I find rather unbelievable to swallow at face value. However, the long list of the milestones contained in the mid-term score card accompanied by pictorial evidence makes it almost impossible for me to look the other way or harbour any form of doubts in my mind as to its veracity. While I clearly understand the place of propaganda and make belief in our local politics, I therefore made it a point of duty to deligently unravel the truth about these projects juxtaposing them with the Governor’s campaign promises and what is contained therein in the mid-term score card.
On the whole, Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya had while campaigning for the coveted seat in the State, made the following observations: “We noted the majority of people in the eleven Local Government Areas of Gombe State do not have access to quality health services due to inadequate infrastructure and lack of basic medical equipment and manpower”. Consequent upon that, the Governor promised to “Proactively implement strategies to achieve universal health coverage in Gombe State using primary health care as the cornerstone by increasing access to efficient, qualitative and affordable healthcare services and ensuring availability of essential drugs and vaccines throughout the State. Today, through the 11 point campaign manifesto of Governor Inuwa Yahaya for the health sector, a lot has been achieved and a vast majority of the people of the State believe that there has been a noticeable improvement in the provision of quality healthcare facilities and services, especially during the last two and half years. It is instructive to state at this juncture that, of the 11 points campaign promises to holistically revitalize the health sector, the administration of Governor Inuwa Yahaya has been able to deliver up to 10, while only one is ongoing. For example the Governor promised to revitalize at least one Primary Health Care Centres in each of the 114 political wards of the State to deliver quality health care to the people at the grassroots level. Today that promise has not only been fulfilled but surpassed, especially with the upgrade, remodeling and modernization of the State Specialist Hospital as well the general hospitals in Bajoga, Kumo and Kaltungo towns, representing the 3 senatorial districts.
Some other promises that have already been delivered by the administration of Governor Inuwa Yahaya include: Free maternal, new-born and child health care services to the less- previledged and vulnerable people in the State. This, the Government was able to achieve through the enrolment of twenty five thousand five hundred hundred and sixty five individuals, including women and children into the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund. The present administration in Gombe State is equally being consistent in the payment of counterpart funds to donor and partner projects in the State where required. The Gombe State Government under the leadership of Governor Inuwa Yahaya has also increased and strengthened collaboration cum commitment with multilateral, bilateral, national and international organisations through new partnerships to strengthen the health care system in the State. Aside from transforming the State Specialist Hospital into a model and reference point for similar facilities across the country, the Gombe State Government has also facilitated the commencement of internship training for graduate Doctors.
Perhaps, one of the fulfilled campaign premises that has so far endeared so many citizens of Gombe State was the provision of financial protection against catastrophic health expenditures through the creation of a contributory health insurance scheme and community based health insurance for the informal sector in the State. This, the Governor was able to achieve through the establishment of the Gombe State Contributory Health Scheme, popularly referred to as GoHealth.
Other landmark achievements by the administration of Governor Inuwa Yahaya include, but not limited to, the establishment of the Hospital Service Management Board for the effective management of secondary health facilities in the State and strengthening the activities of the Gombe State Primary Health Care Development Agency through increased funding. Suffice it to say that the transformation witnessed in the health sector in Gombe State is to say the least, mind blowing given the limited resources at the disposal of the present administration occasioned by the novel Coronavirus and the general economic meltdown. It is however no longer news that the challenges inherent in the health sector in Nigeria are multi-faceted and have continued to be a subject of intense scrutiny given Government huge expenditure in the sector on one hand, and the continuous medical tourism the country has continually witnessed on the other. The leadership sagacity and dexterity so far exhibited by Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya towards repositioning the health sector for effective and efficient service delivery is indeed noble and heartwarming, particularly at a time when health matters are fast, but steadily occupying the agenda at the local, national and international arenas.