Where Is Abia State Primary Health Care Development Centre Today?V  1

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By Charity Uwakwe

Contrary to the popular Maxim, “A single tree cannot make a forest”, history has been made as a single tree has resisted all obstacles and exhibited the capacity to make a forest.

This is evident in the life of the
Abia State Primary Health Care Development Centre, (Abia SPHCDA) which has proven itself formidable.

The various achievements of the agency, yet unannounced induce goosebumps.

Unlike the biblical seed that fell among the thorns and withered away, Abia SPHCDA has defied all setbacks and has set a pace.

Investigaions reveal that it has, overtime, remained unflinching and is bent on actualising its aims of establishment.

Though notably infinitesimal, the Agency has achieved incredibly within its few years of operation.

The various strides too numerous to mention, as achieved by the Agency in a fraction of time, amidst obvious poor funding apparently leaves the general populace in open- mouthed awe.

This is because the Agency has, in spite of all hitches vowed to stop at nothing in making the Centre ‘Second to None’ in the federation.

Indisputable is the fact that the enormous impacts of the Agency shall definitely outlive the present generation especially the massive training and retraining of her staff, as well as sensitization programmes organized intermittently for the of the general public.

The Agency is saddled with the onerous responsibility of harnessing resources from stakeholders, communities, non-governmental organisations, development partners and Government. The Agency works with the 17 Local Government Authorities.

It is I charge of Primary Health Care Centres in the state, as well as ensures that the nine pillars of “Bringing Primary Health Care Under One Roof” (PHCUOR)” are effectively, efficiently and sustainably achieved in Abia, in accordance with national guidelines.

In order to achieve the above, the Agency, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu appointed Dr. Chinagozi Adindu as the Executive Secretary and 24 Board Members with Prof. Madu Awa as the chairman.images 5

Dr. Chinagozi Adi Indu, Executive Secretary, Abia SPHCDC

The team undertook a feasibility study and baseline assessment of all the, Primary Health Centres (PHC’s); it has also taken into cognisance the infrastructure, equipment, manpower, service provision, among others.

They created sub-committees and ad-hoc committee to tackle the challenges. To raise already low morale of the workers, they embarked on aggressive sensitisation activities aimed at achieving ethical re-orientation and changing the psyche of workers. This was also possible with the advice and support from the SSA to the Governor on Health Matters, Chinwendu Felix Joe, (Ezumezu).

Furthermore, in order to enhance the skills of workers and build their capacity, they organized 123 different capacity building workshop for various categories of workers.

Other achievements include: renovating and equipping the office complex, revitalization of the PHC’s in the state through renovation activities, as not fewer than 63 Primary Health Care Centres have been fully renovated while new ones have been built, equipped and commissioned.

The Agency also developed what it calls intervention programmes such little Maternal and Child Healthy Weeks (2x per year), modifications Integrated Medical Outreach, SERRIC, SEMCHIC, to mention but just few.

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The one million dollar question that reverberates on the mind of one upon getting wind of Abia SPHCDA’s poor financial status over the years is;
From where in the world does this Agency derive its strength and tenacity to accelerate her efforts which amazingly produces mouthwatering results?

A source told FamousReporters that the Agency was established on May 20, 2015 alongside Local Governments State Health Authority, (LGSHA).

At our first close approach towards this Agency that has obviously achieved magnificently in intense silence revealed that it lacked government’s presence.

Abia SPHCDA from inception had and still has less available manpower compared to the volume of responsibilities saddled on her shoulder.

This is definitely no longer news to anyone who has stayed in the state for a couple of years.

Grapevine told FamousReporters that several requests were tendered to the state Government, under Governor Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, to employ more hands in the Agency.

Yes, it was confirmed that Abia government, through the Ministry of Health and Local Government Commission employed some staff but after such a long time of waiting.

However, a lot of stones remain unturned, as more hands are required to ensure the state receives adequate health care services.

This, everyone knows was one of the major campaign promises of the present administration, hence ensuring the well-being of those who elected them, should have been of paramount importance in their hearts.
But, now, Abia SPHCDA is indeed a sorry sight to behold!

However, one would scarcely deduce the pain in the heart of the under staffed Agency who work assiduously for the betterment of the state, since they go about their job in the state. This is a demonstration of true love for one’s state and its inhabitants.

This feat, of course would have been a downright impossibility without the tireless efforts Dr. Chinagozim Adindu, the Executive Secretary, (ES) and his outstanding team.

FamousReporters has in a rove, observed the few available staff in their enthusiastic state while discharging their services.

Investigations reveal that Abia SPHCDA still suffers deficiency in human resources and funds and this needs government’s urgent intervention.

However, one glaringly feels dedication and determination in the atmosphere despite all odds. One sees diligence and an undying love for the millions of lives in Abia.

This is suffering and smiling in absoluteness! A mere glance at the staff reveals a lot of hidden pains and agonies conspicuously displayed in their eyes.
Yet they are unrelenting!

Stating that Abia SPHCDA starves is an understatement. Which one would one talk about and discard: is it the dilapidated state of the facilities; none responsiveness of the state in the payment of salaries?

FamousReporters had on July 22, 2020, done a publication on a leaked letter by the State Executive Council, (SEC) of Medical and Health Workers’ Union, Abia State Chapter.

In the leaked letter dated
July 21, 2020, and addressed to Governor Ikpeazu, the SEC amidst regrets, frowned at the derogatory treatment meted out to Health workers in the state.

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This was even as the Union relentlessly combatted the pandemic at its initial outbreak.

Part of the content of the letter read:

“Notice of commencement of an indefinite strike action over the arbitrary non- payment of April, May 2020 salaries in the LGA’s

“Arising from the State Executive Council meeting of the union that was held on the 21-07-2020 at the State Secretariat of the Union with the representatives of the branches in the 17 LGA’s in attendance.

“The SEC has seriously frowned at the breach of trust and confidence from the Ministry of Local government and chieftaincy affairs that had earlier in their meeting with the Union on 13-7-2020, promised to address the issue of the non- payment of Health Workers salary with an overdraft within 7days.”

Meanwhile, FamousReporters during investigations then gathered that local government health workers in the state had suffered series of deprivations overtime, ranging from: non-payment of Consolidated Health Salary Structure which is being paid to others, absence of running cost, none payment of impress to LG health authorities, state unlike other sister- organisations, non- provision of COVID-19 incentives, exclusion from the payment of April and May salaries to LG Council Workers, Education Workers, etc by the Ministry of LG and Chieftaincy Affairs.

As at this period, Grapevine confirmed to FamousReporters that Abia State government had never been fair in her dealings with health workers in the state, irrespective of their unflinching commitment to the fight against the pandemic.

Evidently, such an Agency whose activities are efforts are seen at the nooks and crannies of the state, sensitising the people even at the peak of the pandemic, does not deserve relegation of this height.

The source said:
“There is the Joint Allocation Committee, fund, (JAC) from which Local government Health Workers, Primary Education Workers and Primary Health Workers are being paid.

“But, unfortunately, when money came for them to pay April salary they paid local government workers, people that have been at home sleeping, they paid primary school workers, but then the health workers that have been at the war front, fighting COVID, coming to work everyday, they refused to pay them.”

However, it is astonishing to realise what enormous feats this Agency has achieved amidst unavoidable hitches.

Contrarily, the Agency is always grateful for the assistance so far obtained from the state government, although the best of the latter is not enough.images 7

They still pour encomiums on Dr. Ikpeazu for the heights attained so far which has reportedly placed her ahead of her contemporaries in my federation. Their words when asked has always remained; “the Governor is really good to us”, you will hear them say. What a contradiction!

I still wonder!

The question is; where is the Abia State Primary Health Care Development Centre today?

Watch out for part two of this article!

 

By Famous Reporters

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