The Anambra State government has what it calls Economic Engine. You have the four pillars of development which is anchored on Agriculture, Oil and Gas, Industrialization and Trade and Commerce. And for these pillars to move, there has to be the one we call the enablers.these are certain things that will enable the economic engine, and of course that is the health sector, education, and a lot of them.So that is the structure we operate because this government has a blueprint. Now let me get back to your question. It is good we started from the Primary Health Care. Primary health is the basic building block that is the smallest unit of health care. And it is the one that begins with the remotest villages and from there it begins to scale up.
1.Anambra University Teaching Hospital Awka
So in primary healthcare, before now the Anambra State or even the nation at large, there is no organized primary health care since 1990. The primary health care was actually meant to be managed by Local Government System but without any clearly defined goals and objectives. And of course the aftermath is that we find out that the management were not patterned and that has led to the collapse of many primary healthcare. So the National Council on Health in 2011 decided to put all the primary health care under one umbrella, what is called Primary Health care Development Agency, and states were asked to go to their different states to make laws that will back this agency.
2. Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital Nnewi
And I wonder that before now there was no such board .So It was just last December, December 23,2015 that through the order of the Anambra State Government under Chief Willie Obiano. that the Anambra State Primary Health Development Agency was passed into law by Anambra State House of Assembly and by January, the Governor inaugurated the board and right now we have a functional primary health care.And one important thing about the agency is that one per cent of the Consolidated Revenue will be coming to that state and will be going straight into the agency that helps to look into the numerous challenges that is affecting the primary healthcare.
3. Iyi-Enu Hospital Ogidi
Before now the primary health care was under the Local Governments. Because of that they don’t have any clearly defined role.And that has led to fragmentation that is leading to a total collapse of the system. This government has structured the primary healthcare and keyed into the National Primary Health care Development Agency. Now we have the Anambra State Primary Health care Development Agency that will take care of all activities of the primary healthcare.
4. St. Borromeow Hospital Onitsha
What is primary health care all about?
Thank you very much. Primary health care can be taken as the smallest unit of health care where you can have a nurse and few health facilities that tend to people. They are meant to attend the primary form of first aid to the people. And they are the greatest in number because they spread throughout the remotest areas. The secondary health takes care of the things that the primary health care cannot take like operations and the ones the secondary health cannot take care of are taken to the tertiary health care system. It is actually a grading based on their capacity, the staffing and other things.
What achievement has the government made in the primary healthcare system?
Of course I have mentioned the Primary health Development Agency and the importance of this agency. This a board that organizes, take care of all the problems of the primary health care and a lot of other things, once you have a structure on the ground most of the problems of the primary health care will be taken care of. Let me tell you about 229 registered health care centers the board has taken up this challenge of making sure that they perform. So, there is now an organized structure put up by Gov Obiano to make sure that we achieve these objectives. Also in the primary health care because of the problems we have, because of the remotest areas,there is the problem of assessment. His Excellency has bought 17 flying boats and boat ambulances that assist in accessing these remote areas.
5. Holy Rosary Hospital , Waterside Onitsha.
Are the 229 primary health centres well spread across the 177 communities in Anambra State?
Of course they are actually spread based on the political zones and there is no town that has not got one or two primary health care depending on their population. Apart from that we are still trying to balance for some communities that have not got one like Ndi Ukwenu and Okpeze.the government has taken the responsibility and given me the mandate. And we are working to make sure that we give them one.
In the primary health care we have continued to make sure we continued from where the last administration stopped. And this time around we have decided to step up any of the 37 general hospitals to specialist hospitals. One of the reasons we wanted to do that is we want to augment. Right now when some graduates from the medical school or pharmacists they have some challenges of having what is called intention, so we have decided to step up the three hospitals, one in each of the three senatorial zone, the general hospitals in Onitsha, Enugwu-Ukwu and Ekwulobia. We want to key into the world best. One thing that is very special about that of Onitsha, is it has a helicopter landing pad- helipad where emergencies can be taken even out side the state. So we want to actually have a state of the art hospital in three of these hospitals they are going to be special centres comparable to any other hospital in and out side Nigeria.
6. General Hospital Onitsha
What has the government achieved so far in the secondary health care?
In the secondary health care we have what is called maternal and child health centres.there is supposed to be one in each senatorial zone, it is another specialist thing one that will address children and pregnant mothers. And this is a special area because the federal government wants to take up the treatment of pregnant women and mothers free -of -charge .And we want to make sure that we have such institutions in Anambra State that will benefit from such. Also we are doing re-certification of health institutions. Now we find out that there was no where in the past where health is monitored to know what they do, that is why people go to private hospitals where they don’t have equipment. And you find out people who claimed to be doctors they are not. You find a lot of things. We want to sanitize the health sector to make sure that if you are going to hospital you get the appropriate treatment.So we are doing intensive re-certification and soonest we are going to clamp down on most of the hospitals that are not hospitals.or that are not equal to what it should be to safeguard the lives of our citizens ,especially the innocent ones.And I also want to tell you that we are building a center for disease control.It has to be at Awka . The important thing is that it will help the government to have a place where if you have a communicable disease they are treated instead of mixing up with every other kind of treatment. So this is part of what we are doing in the secondary health care.
7. Obijackson Chidren Hospital, Okija.
We have also taken up the 37General hospitals in the state for innovations. And three of them, General Hospitals Enugwu-Ukwu, Ekwulobia and Onitsha are being upgraded to specialist hospitals.
At the tertiary level we have put in place all that is needed for the final accreditation of the School of Nursing at the Odumegwu Ojukwu University and the and the graduation of Odunegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital students. We have secured accreditation of the school of Midwifery and they have started admitting students this year.
We have reintroduced drug revolving scheme where drug is stored in a central store to enable them retain their potency, to prevent fake and maintain drug regulation. We have introduced quality control and drug Information Centre located in Amaku General Hospital, Amaku. Anambra State is introducing Universal Health Insurance Scheme to enable everybody have access to hospital services without regard to money.
Govt is doing alot in the health system in what can be classified as primary, secondary and tertiary. That is, the major areas that activity can be categorized.
How do you react to the allegation that the government is trying to close some drug stores over storage issues?
We are not trying to close anybody’s shop. We are trying to make sure that drugs do not lose their potency due to improper storage or poor storage facility. Drugs are supposed to be stored under normal temperature.
Drugs lose their potency when they are stored wrongly such as undersunlight, hot places,etc. That is why we have the medical drug distribution centre.If you say one storage place is improper you provide a better alternative. That is what we have done.
Herbal drugs are being advertised and carried about everyday. What is your reaction to that?
We have banned open sale of drugs, particularly open sale of herbal drugs. You don’t have to convince people to buy drugs. The effects of wonder drugs have been kidney failure among others. Anybody that tells you that one drug cures every thing is a killer. In time we are going to do something about that.
It is a law that you don’t adverytise drugs. It is not Anambra law. Herbal medicine are good but we are not stopping it but we want to regulate it. We want to make sure that they don’t endanger people’s lives.
Anambra have three university teaching hospitals Nnamdi Azikiwe university teaching hospital Nnewi, Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu university Teaching Awka, Tansian Universtiy teaching hospital Aguleri, 47 general hospitals, 229 health centres and numarous mission hospitals.