The Delta state Government has recorded tremendous successes in the reduction of mortality, morbidity and HIV/Aids prevalence in the State through the provision of quality, accessible and affordable health care services to Deltans and other residents, even as the state government has subsidized payments for dialysis treatment for patients suffering from renal failure.
This was disclosed by the Delta state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joseph Otumara, during the ongoing mid-term reports by members of the Delta state executive council in Asaba.
According to him, “The health of a people plays out significantly in their productivity and thus their wealth…and the Ministry of Health has tenaciously been executing all the activities and programmes related to the responsibilities assigned to her… as a professional Ministry involved in the formulation of policies/strategies for the achievement of the State Government’s goals and objectives in Health related matters.”
In this regard therefore, the Delta state Government, according to Otumara, has ensured that essential facilities such as uninterrupted power supply has been provided to Maternity/Labour ward complex, Laboratory and Children Emergency units amongst others, adding that “This provision is considered very necessary to the twin Programmes of Free Maternal and Free Under-five Health Care.”
Speaking further, the Delta Health Commissioner affirmed that the Free Maternal Health Programme of the state government which was launched by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan in November 2007, with the goal of reducing maternal mortality by more than 50%, has cost the government a total sum of N1.8 billion and has been a tremendous source of relief both medically and financially to Deltans.
Otumara said, “The services which initially included Ante-Natal Care, deliveries including caesarean sections as well as essential laboratory tests have been expanded to include management of ectopic pregnancies and complications of abortions as well as blood transfusion services.”
He further explained that following the rapidly increasing number of patients benefitting from the programme, several health personnel have been recruited to strengthen the work-force, adding that the statistics since inception of the programme revealed that total ANC bookings was 278,484; Routine ANC (919,248); Total Deliveries (127,849); Pre-natal Deaths (44/1000 births); Maternal Deaths (407); Maternal Mortality Ratio (244/100,000 live births) and HIV Prevalence at 2.9% from 4.1% in 2008.
In the area of rural health scheme, Otumara noted that the scheme which involves free treatment of patients with both medical and surgical conditions, at no costs to the client and also includes Laboratory services, HIV Screening, Pharmaceutical services, General Medical as well as Specialist care including Surgery has been expanded by adding immunization and dental care.
While confirming that 443 Communities have been visited since 2008 till date, he equally revealed that all the Local Government Areas of the State have benefited from this scheme, which has brought succor to many rural dwellers and has so far cost the State Government N570,000,000 (Five Hundred and Seventy Million Naira) within the period under review.
The Delta state Health Commissioner explained further that the Free Under Five Medical Care Program which was flagged off in May 2010 has also offered free medical services for all kinds of ailments for children between the ages of 0-5 years, adding that while admissions increased from 82,486 in 2010 to 351,106 in 2012, the death rate was 151 in 2010 and 1,347 in 2012, which recorded a reduction ratio of 0.23 percent to 0.18 percent in the period under review.
Although he attributed the cause of deaths recorded among children from 0-5 years in the state to several common ailments including Malaria which was the highest at 27 percent, Neonatal sepsis (12%); Birth Asphyxia (7%); Respiratory tract infections (6%); Meningitis (3%); Meningitis (3%) and others which accounted for 20 percent, the Health Commissioner said that “Since inception, the Ministry of Health has spent approximately 1.2 Billion Naira on the Free Under-Five Health Programme in Delta State.”
Otumara said that “The three Programmes so far enunciated have highlighted the Human Capital Development Programme of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan’s administration which is very fundamental and prepares Delta State for sustainable progress.”
In the area of Infrastructural Development, the Delta state Health Commissioner noted that the State Government awarded contracts for the infrastructural development and equipment for the Delta State University Teaching Hospital (DELSUTH), located at Oghara, to the tune of N17,660,530,135.56 (Seventeen billion, six hundred and sixty million, five hundred and thirty thousand, one hundred and thirty-five naira, fifty-six kobo) since inception of the project, even as he added that about N8 billion of this amount has been fully paid by the administration of Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan.
Otumara, who said that the Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara which was commissioned in June 2010 by President Goodluck Jonathan, has since been fully functional with an array of foreign-based Medical Doctors, Pharmacists, Nurses, Information Technology experts and Medical Laboratory Scientists, added that DELSUTH has also made mile-stone achievements with the first successful Knee Replacement Surgery in a public institution in Nigeria and the medical institution was poised to undertake the first Kidney Transplant operation in a few months time.
The Health Commissioner who also disclosed that DELSUTH is making in-roads in area of skill acquisition for patient care, at establishing an international Skill Acquisition Centre for Doctors and Minimal Invasive Surgery well anchored in the Department of General Surgery, further added that the state government has already established huge Dialysis departments in Warri and Oghara for sustainable Renal Transplantation and subsidized dialysis treatment from N20,000 to N5,000 per session for indigenous patients in the state.
Otumara also said that the state government has awarded 390 projects across the three senatorial districts and in the three tiers of Health Institutions; Primary, secondary and Tertiary Health Institutions out of which 248 have been completed while others are at various stages of completion, adding that amount expended so far on hospital/ health centre Infrastructural Development is N4,614,507,203.80 (Four Billion, Six Hundred and Fourteen Million, Five Hundred and Seven Thousand, Two Hundred and Three Naira, Eighty Kobo) from 2007 to 2011.
According to Otumara, “Thus far the State Government has spent the sum of ₦5,463,776,470.82 (Five billion, four hundred and sixty-three million, seven hundred and seventy-six thousand, four hundred and seventy naira, eighty-two kobo) only on the procurement of equipment in our hospitals and health centres.
“Our Mobile Field Hospital is already in very good use especially during the flood incident of 2012. The Intensive Care Unit ambulances would soon be rolled out to strategic points in our highways as we eventually actualize our Emergency Medical Services for Delta State Dream,” he said.
The state Commissioner for Health also noted that various Primary Health Care Centres and hospitals were built, rehabilitated and upgraded while some health institutions were completed and made functional, including Eku Baptist Hospital, Maternal and Child Care Hospital, Warri and Primary Health Care Centres in Uzere, Ubuluku, Onicha-Olona, Ogriegbene and Abigborodo, adding that the State Government has spent a total of ₦3.1 Billion on the Central Hospital Asaba Project.
Other areas where the delta state Ministry of health achieved success, according to the mid-term include, monitoring, inspection and registration of private Health Institution in the State as well as renewal of certificates of the registered ones, provision of financial assistance to Deltans to the sum of ₦1.4 Billion, the Drug Revolving Fund (DRF) to the tune of N3.9 billion (Three Billion, Nine Hundred Million Naira), which has ensured that the hospitals have been able to meet patients’ drug requirements without any further infusion of new capital by the government as well as Immunization activities and Disease Surveillance in Delta State.