By: Ismaila Yahaya
In the penultimate paragraph of “A peek into Jeff Uzor’s ideal Imo state pt1”published last week, where I introduced the first three items from Jeff Uzor’s blueprint (which you need to find and read if you haven’t), I gave a hint of the health plan in Jeff Uzor’s proposed intervention of the health sector should he be elected governor of Imo state, when the electoral gong is sounded. Today, I will take Ndi Imo deep into the hinterlands of that plan and guide them stately, step by step into how this wonderful feature in his blueprint will be achieved, but before I start, I want Ndi Imo to know that this idea has been pitched to health professionals at many a forum and they were thrilled by it. And, I believe Ndi Imo will not only be thrilled by it, they will be saved by it, but only if they give it life by electing Jeff Uzor at the polls come 2019.
A healthy state is a wealthy state! Not many will dispute that fact; just as, nobody will dispute that a healthy state is made possible through the conscious efforts of men and women who over time, took their jobs seriously, for the good of God and country. That the health sector which in sane climes is top on the scale of preference, is treated with disdain and a complete lack of commitment by Nigerian leaders all over the country is unfortunate and leaves a lump in the throats of well-meaning Nigerians can never be overemphasized. While they and their loved ones jet out to treat even the most innocuous of sicknesses abroad, the people are left at the mercy of squalid, ill equipped, quacks manned hospitals, thereby visiting them with avoidable deaths. This trend, the Imo people must reverse through Jeff and his health plan.
Now the health Plan….
Jeff intends to put up health facilities that are sustainable, feasible and affordable. With the health care situation in Imo, Ndi Imo do not need health facilities that climb 30 floors. Beside the fact that such enormous projects may take up to 30 years to complete given the paucity of funds gripping the land, a project of such magnitude will require enormous power to run efficiently; power that isn’t just available. So, here’s what Jeff’s administration will do…
In every local government, several units of what he termed “cottage hospitals” of 30 to 60 beds will be constructed. The term “cottage” is used here to explain the simplicity but above all, the affordability of these hospitals. The units, bungalow in nature will have several wings to include wards, offices, a mini laboratory, a mini surgical theatre, examination rooms, a mini dispensary that is stocked with original drugs at all time and every department necessary to treat health conditions not requiring specialized facilities and personnel. They will be run on a combination of solar, public power and generators. The facilities will be equipped with normal equipment necessary for their day to day operation like vital signs machines, portable x-ray machines, ECG machines, defibrillators, working phone lines, and an ambulance for emergencies, and they will be adequately staffed. Because of the population of the state, it is possible to have several in every local government to avoid overcrowding that will stretch them beyond their capacity. Depending on size and activity,and from the data at Jeff’s disposal, he projects that it will take less than one year to construct and make these cottage hospitals fully functional. Won’t that be a beauty to behold dear Ndi Imo?
It gets even better. After the cottage hospitals have become operational, Jeff’s administration will encourage private clinics in the state to either upgrade or stop operating. Government will design a guideline that when in force, will lead to the upgrade in standards and operation of private hospitals. In addition to other guidelines that may be instituted from time to time, the proposed guidelines will include: mandating that all private clinics and hospitals be situated in a non-residential building; every private clinic in the state will be required to have and maintain at all times on its premises, medical equipment that are fully functional and necessary for them to serve Ndi Imo better, a fully stocked mini dispensary that at the minimum may be able to administer first aid and or analgesics; mandating all personnel in private clinics and hospitals to be trained in emergency lifesaving procedures; and, also requiring that all clinics make their facility and equipment available for inspection and recertification every two years or any number of years adjudged appropriate by the council of practitioners. Clinics and hospitals not willing to comply will not be allowed to operate in the state. It’s not all regulations though, Jeff will open a line of credit for private clinics in the state facing financial constraints. This will a repayable loan to help them transform. Surprised? Don’t be, if Jeff say he will do it, then better believe he will.
I can assure Ndi Imo that, if they give Jeff the mandate to serve them, their days of buying fake medicines will be over as the ministry of health will be provided with tools, systems and methods of detecting fake medicines and apprehend culprits. This is doable! It is not a white elephant project. Because of the importance of health to the people, Imo state government under Jeff will upgrade and reposition the healthcare system in Imo state within the first two years of his ascension to power and you can bank on that.
Gone will be the days of white elephant projects like some of the uncompleted 27 general hospitals, located far away from human contact, that are supposed to be operational in all the 27 local governments, but are withering away in isolation. Gone will be the kind of embarrassment and pain that the Imo people lived through recently when a tanker exploded killing several people, some of who would have been saved had the emergency units of hospitals been working and their ER personnel were sufficiently trained to administer effective on-the-spot first aid. The people only need to replay the pathetic images from the viral video of the young man whose arm was blown off in the fuel tank explosion and was forced into Keke (tricycle), because of the unavailability of an ambulance to ferry the injured and dying from the scene of the explosion.
Jeff’s cottage hospitals will be strategically located close to the people and on motorable roads. The emergency section of the hospitals will be active and the ambulances fuelled and ready to go at a moment’s notice as is obtainable in serious societies. With this, the rate of deaths from accidents and the level of infant and maternal mortality within Imo will be drastically reduced. And, here’s the kicker! This world-class health care will be made very affordable through a restructured health insurance scheme that Jeff will enforce on both public and private health facilities.
What more do Ndi Imo need to believe that Jeff is indeed the man?
I will return next week with more from Jeff’s blueprint. Stay safe, stay out of trouble and enjoy the holidays. Merry Christmas from Jeff Uzor and the team!!