By; PETER MELE
An old adage that says health is wealth has remained valid in man’s day to day activities because only healthy population can engage in activities that will improve the quality of lives of people in societies. It is in this regard that while campaigning for the governorship seat on the platform of the All Progressives Congress APC, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya discovered with concern that majority of people in the local government areas of the state did not have access to quality health services due to inadequate infrastructure, absence of basic medical equipment and manpower.
Governor Yahaya at the time promised to among others to proactively implement strategies to achieve Universal Health coverage in the state using Primary Health Care as the corner stone to increase efficient, qualitative and affordable healthcare facilities and services as well as ensure availability of essential drugs, vaccine and immunization throughout the state.
Based on the above declaration of Inuwa even before coming into office, it is really not out of place if we take a look at how the incumbent administration has improved availability and accessibility of health care services as well as how they have impacted the lives of the people.
To undertake any critical sector of the state for development like the health sector with the intent on making meaningful impact on the lives of the benefiaries in our respective communities, funding remains key and it is in realization of this fact that the Inuwa Yahaya administration considered it noble to increase the budgettery allocation to the Primary Healthcare Development Agency by forty nine percent in twenty twenty and thirty percent in twenty twenty one.
Through the Primary Health Care Development Agency, at least one Primary health centre in each of the one hundred and forteen wards in the state was either consructed or rehabilitated to deliver quality healthcare services to the people at the grassroot level and to quarantee effective service delivery, each of the PHCS have been provided with a motorized borehole and solar power.
To ensure quality service delivery of the PHCS across the state, Doctors, Nurses and other medical staff are posted to all the one hundred and forteen Primary Health Centres. Also to ensure the realisation of the Universal Health coverage in the state Governor Inuwa Yahaya provided counterpart funding to the tune of six hundred and five million to NSHIP project to strengthen primary Healthcare, the government introduced the Gombe state Contributory Health Scheme (GO-Health) which uses the sector wide approach to healthcare financing. The government has also built and revitalised cottage hospitals in Shongom, Nafada, Mallam Sidi, Bojude and Kwami, provided free maternal newborn and child Healthcare services to the less privileged and vulnerable people in the state in addition to enrolling twenty five thousand five hundred and sixty five vulnerable individuals, including women and children into Basic Healthcare provision fund. To ensure the effective coordination of health personnel, facilities and service delivery, the government, for the first time in the history of the state, established the Hospital Services Management Board and appointed credible, experienced and dedicated personnel to serve on the board. The remodelling of the State Specialist Hospital Gombe, General Hospitals Bajoga, and Kaltungo are testaments to the effort of the Inuwa Government to transform the health sector for the benefit of the people.
Also of note is the ongoing construction of a brand new General Hospital in Kumo, Akko local government to replace the hitherto dilapidated structures.
Considering the capital intensive nature of these developmental initiatives aside the increased bugettery privisions to the health sector as mentioned above, the administration actively engaged major development partners in the country and abroad with a view to attracting additional support and intervention aids into the state and ensuring payment of all outstanding counterpart funds for healthcare programme. It is equally important at this point to place it on record that Governor Yahaya has demonstrated capacity not only to make promises but, demonstrated capacity to keep them as shown in his delibrate strategy to improve the quality of the people’s health in the state and beyond. Worthy of mention is the effort of the Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya’s administration to bring to fruition the snake bite research center Kaltungo, to address the suffering of victims of snake bite through collaboration with the office of the special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Sustainable Development Goals SDGS.
When completed, the people of Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba states and neighboring countries of Niger Republic, Chad and Cameron who patronises the snake bite hospital will heave a sigh of relief.
These and many other policies such as the increase in the college of Nursing and Midwifery and College of Health Sciences andTechnology admissions are part of wider strategy to entrench enduring comprehensive health care service delivery system to the people.
Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya therefore deserves commendation for his commitment to keeping to the promise made to the people within the few years of being at the helm of affairs of Gombe State.
While space and time can not allow for all the acheivements recorded by the APC led government in the health sector, what is however expected from the good people of the state is to remain peaceful and supportive of these noble efforts of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya.(Danmajen Gombe)
Peter Mele is of GMC News and Current Affairs Department and Government House Correspondent