A healthy people is a healthy nation. Given that poor health infrastructure, he inherited, Governor Bello left no one in doubt about his commitment to revising the trend. Thus the health sector became a priority to the State Government. Alhaji Yahaya Bello the executive Governor of Kogi State, took the bold stride to revamp the entire health sector from the comatose state as it was left behind by the previous administration.

In a bid to ensure increased coverage, quality of health services, as well as access to services at all levels, all Primary Health Care facilities in the State were put under one roof. The National Health Act. 2014 provides for operationalization of Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR) by States and establishment of Local Government Health Authorities (LGHA) at the Local Government levels as the condition for benefiting from the Basic Health Care Provision Fund.

Procurement and Distribution of sophisticated Hospital equipment to the 5 zonal Hospitals. Outreach to 5 designated centers in the three Senatorial Districts of Kogi State. The outreach which was targeted for about 50,000 patients during which services such as major and minor surgical operations, medical treatments, eye care, pediatric care, gynecological care, laboratory investigations and others were rendered for free recorded.

In the Saving One Million Lives (SOML), – essential drugs were distributed to at least one PHC Per ward making a total of 239 PHCs across the State, while the revitalisation of rural Health facilities through the NYSC Scheme was carried out. There has also been the massive recruitment of over 52 medical consultants and another cadre of staff to fill the alarming gap in all spheres of the State’s Health sector. While some have been concluded, others are currently ongoing.

In response to unacceptably poor maternal and child health statistics and in line with the New Direction Agenda of Governor Yahaya Bello. Health Care plus was introduced to reverse these poor statistics to a more favorable zone. Healthcare plus serves as a pre-implementation plan for the much awaited state-wide Universal Health Insurance Scheme.

Under Healthcare plus program, a new category of Health workers termed Health rangers have been created who will serve as a mobile intermediary between women, community and health facilities. So far, 21 Centers designated for Healthcare Plus have been visited and assessed, while upgrade and refurbishing of those Primary Healthcare Centers are ongoing. More so, the Ministry of Health has interfaced with the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy affairs in a well-structured joint program sponsorship. This Project has attracted keen interest from many International and Indigenous Donor Agencies who have pledged readiness to support the State Government in Scaling up of HCP to designate additional Health Facilities.

The benevolence of his Excellency Alhaji Yahaya Bello gave birth to the Bello Health Intervention (BHI) Program. The BHI Program consists chiefly of two components:

1.Payment for needy patients, sending some Overseas for treatment

BHI is a program designed to help critically sick Kogites and indigent patients particularly the vulnerable children. So far, 28 Kogites with various life-threatening issues have been helped by this administration ranging from those with stroke, congestive Heart failure, malignant diseases, various degrees of trauma including Spinal cord injury, some of which were sent abroad for advanced treatment. One of the most fascinating of these was the successful separation of conjoined twins.

2. Procurement of Drugs for special category of patients

Under BHI program, the State Government has procured assorted customized pediatric drugs currently in the State Medical Store, through the office of the SDG awaiting the flag off of his Excellency before distributing to various Health facilities across the State. The qualification to access these drugs would be to be an indigene of lower social economic status irrespective of your tribe, location or political party affiliation. These free drugs will go a long way in improving child health with the ultimate aim of reducing infant mortality rate in the State to below 10 per 1000 live births. Infant mortality is currently put at 76 per 1000 live births. Among other factors, poverty has been identified as an important cause of these embarrassing child health statistics especially the alarming child mortality rate being witnessed today in our communities.

Before this administration came on board, various donor agencies that were previously supporting Kogi State threatened to withdraw services from the State on account of non-payment of counterpart funds for a very long time. However, in line with the New Direction Agenda of this administration, the State Government has approved and released all the required counterpart funds worth tens of millions of Naira. This administration has shown tremendous passion in honoring memoranda of understanding, fulfilling counterpart funding and making sure that whatever funds or donations made to the State are used solely for its intended purpose. This has re-engaged trust in the hearts of our partners and Kogi State has now attracted more Donor Agencies in the last few months.

In a bid to address the menace of unwholesome and unprofessional practices in the Health Sector, the New Direction Administration has prepared a bill for combating the menace of medical quackery in Kogi state, awaiting enactment by the Kogi State House of Assembly. The Bill, the first of its Kind in 25 years of the existence of Kogi State, is aimed at checking the excesses of quacks both in public and private health facilities. It is unfortunate that over the years, Kogi State had become a haven for the sporadic establishment of unwholesome hospitals and health centers largely due to lack of laws to fight medical quackery. This has lured unsuspecting victims to patronize them probably because they offer cheaper alternatives to quality Healthcare. Such a trend had led to patients receiving life-threatening prescriptions, misdiagnosis, complications and even in some instances, death!

It became glaring that there was an acute shortage of drugs and medical supplies in the State public health facilities. If this problem was allowed to linger, the resultant effect would be that all efforts to improve health delivery will be futile as quality prescriptions need to be matched by quality and affordable drugs. To correct this, a new model for drug supply termed Kogi State Sustainable Drug Supply system (SDSS) was designed to ensure a systemic provision of genuine and affordable drugs to the health facilities in a sustainable manner, in line with the New Direction Blueprint for the Health Sector.

This was predicated by weaknesses in the old EDRF such as undue political interference in the functioning of the scheme, poor capacity of facility staff, inadequate managerial and financial autonomy, and capital depletion.

Medical emergencies are not new in any state in Nigeria just as it is no hidden fact that such emergencies are often treated with laxity popularly termed the Nigerian Factor. For instance, in the past cases of medical emergencies resulting from cassava consumption in the State were often treated as a mere case of cyanide poisoning. But for the first time in Nigeria, a case of cassava poisoning was met with a rapid medical response and investigated to a logical conclusion with samples having to be shipped abroad to South Africa for complete toxicological analysis. The result from the investigation has been able to raise many questions as to the veracity of previous reports concluding that food poisoning from cassava consumption was solely due to cyanide poisoning as in the case of three deaths from cassava poisoning in Lagos in 1992, five deaths in Akure in 2012, Five deaths in Enugu, 2012 all concluded cases of death from cyanide poisoning. Once Again, Kogi State has set the pace for medical emergency response in this regard as we were able to prove otherwise that the deaths in Adavi Local Government of Kogi State were not from cyanide poisoning.

The Ministry of Health in conjunction with Kogi State Bureau for Private Public Partnership (BPPP) has reached an advanced stage in discussion with willing investors to bring quality healthcare services into the State under a PPP arrangement, in the areas of radio diagnostics and laboratory services. Some of the willing partners are at the stage of receiving certificates.

Discussion is ongoing on the possibility of leasing out some of our facilities for a massive upgrade and advanced medical services. This will eventually transform Kogi State into a hub for Medical Tourism as desired by the current Administration.

Confluence Advanced Medical Diagnostic and Imaging Center (CAMDIC) is a project abandoned by the last administration. However, Governor Yahaya Bello directed reinvigoration of the project and mobilized the contractors back to the site after approving the payment of all outstanding certificates submitted by the contractors, with the ultimate aim of completing and commissioning the project for the use of the citizens of Kogi State.

The New Direction administration is working towards completing the abandoned Construction activities, Paying for the already supplied equipment and procuring additional equipment to fully revitalize the project. Upon completion of this project, advanced medical, laboratory and Imaging services will be rendered to our teaming population. By virtue of the vantage location of Kogi State on the map of Nigeria, CAMDIC will attract patronage from border States and improves Revenue potential of the State.

Under the watch of this New Direction Administration, the old College of Nursing Obangede, a mono technique has been approved to be converted to a Polytechnique with the introduction of new courses; Dental Nursing and Midwifery. The present administration has commenced the remodeling, renovation, and re-equipment of existing dilapidated structures in the College. Also ongoing is a complete perimeter fencing of the institution, construction of new administrative block, new two hundred accommodation for the students and employment of more academic staff.

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