Nasarawa State Commissioner of Health, Pharm. Ahmed B. Yahaya, has described achievements of the State Governor, Engr. AA Sule, in the Health Sector as unparalleled in the country, particularly, measures taken by the Governor to curtail spread of COVID-19 in the state.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Health Monitor in his office in Lafia, recently, Pharm Yahaya said Governor AA Sule was the first in the country to mount fortified COVID-19 checkpoints at all entry points of the state from the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Benue and Kaduna States, and also the first in the country to give improved hazard allowances to health personnel to boost their morale in the fight against the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, a commendable and exemplary development that should earn him international award by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“As Nasarawa State was among the states that have experienced the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before our index case, His Excellency has been proactive that before the pandemic, it’s was only the two health tertiary institutions that had skilled individuals and personnel that can handle such circumstances but even before the index case that was recorded in Lagos, about 70% of staff in Lafia health facilities were trained.

“We also went out to train from each local government. Also, all the General Hospitals prepared a Rapid Response Team from each local government and made provision for testing centers. We also created six solution units in about six General Hospitals like Doma General Hospital, Awe General Hospital , Akwanga General Hospital and Nasarawan Toto General Hospital.

“We are  also the first in the country to make restrictions at checkpoints in all entries of the State, in which 8 checkpoints were made available mounted by health teams and security teams to screen all those who are forthcoming.

“We are also the first in the country to give the improved hazard allowances and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs). And these are great things that have boosted the morale of the health team who stood on ground to make sure they give the best to fight this pandemic,” Yahaya said.

According to him, as part of measures to tackle the spread of the virus through awareness, the Nasarawa State Government set a communication network up to the grassroots to send the message of COVID-19 in all the languages in the state.

The Commissioner added that they were lucky have also inherited an Infectious disease facility from Tanko Almakura’s administration, which is one of the best in Africa, and the facility according to him, has been instrumental in the successes recorded in combatting the virus in Nasarawa State.

Speaking on the number of tests conducted, Yahaya said “we have conducted over 4,000 tests for COVID-19 and over 400 have tested positive and almost all of them have recovered as they have tested negative to the virus. We have 14 who have lost their lives and one of them happened to be a member of our State House of Assembly.”

While commenting on the giant strides the Engr. A.A Sule administration is making generally in the health sector, he said “His Excellency Engr. A.A Sule has done tremendously well in issues that affect my Ministry. I would like to appreciate his choice of deputy, Dr. Emmanuel Akabe, who happens to be a medical doctor.

“His Excellency has made it clear from the beginning that the policies his administration is going to focus on are education, health and security. In several occasions he has made it clear.

“Barely after weeks in his assumption to office, he conducted a free health services, where cataracts were removed from the eyes of several people through surgery. Maternal and child health were also given special attention; physicians were also made available,” he added.

According to him, the present administration to some extent inherited the best health system from its predecessors. His Excellency, Senator Umaru Tanko Almakura, who had also played his role and even those that came before him left about 16 secondary health facilities and over 700 Primary Health Care facilities. And, one tertiary institution. The second tertiary institution we have in the State is the School of Health and Science Technology in Keffi.

He continued saying: “It might interest you to know that most of them have not been in use for years because of inadequacy of human capital resources, vis-à-vis equipment and what have you. With the privilege of his arrival, the money has been disbursed to us since last November over One point something billion naira.

“It might interest you that over 50 to 60% of it was set aside for upgrade and equipping of health facilities. Now, over 50% of them have been completed and the remaining percentage are at different levels of completion.

“Beyond such, His Excellency has ordered the procurement of health equipment worth 180 million naira to equip our health facilities, within one year. This has been flagged off two months ago. That is aside the training and retraining of health workers, for us to meet up with the present and modern digital demand of the health sector.

“We met two institutions of teaching in the State related to health –the School of Nursing and the School of Health and Science Technology in Keffi. To our dismay, the quality was low.

“But, His Excellency, Engr. Abdullahi Sule has sent a bill to the House of Assembly, the School of Nursing has been converted to College of Health and Technology, with the introduction of new courses that will satisfy the demand of people especially at the grassroots,” he concluded.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *