Otti Won’t Let Abia Health Sector, Workers Suffer Again – Okoronkwo

Abia State Commissioner for Health, Dr Ngozi Okoronkwo on Saturday said that the current state government under the leadership of Dr Alex Otti has prioritized the health of the Abia people, as well as the welfare of the health workers.

Okoronkwo who spoke at the official flag-off ceremony of a one-Month Free Medical Services at the Aba General Hospital initiated by the government through her Ministry, said that the era when government hospitals are left to waste, while the people suffer to get medical attention is over.

The Commissioner thanked Abia health workers for showing a high level of dedication despite the challenges of non-payment of several months of salaries by the past government and charged them not to expect such negligence from Otti’s administration, which she said prioritized their welfare.

“I promise you that your payment will come every month. Don’t ever go to bed thinking you’ll not be paid. That’s not possible as far as this Government is concerned.

“We’ll not only pay salaries, but we’ll supply you with all you need to do your work perfectly.

“We thank you for staying back even when you were not been paid and we also thank you for showing up now.

“I’ll beg you to be at work so that our people will know that our hospital system is back. I beg you to do your work because it’ll help us and whenever I present your case, answers will come. If you help me to get the work done, I’ll help you to get what you need to get it done.”

Speaking on the Free Medical Services, Okoronkwo said that she believes that the move made today which will continue till the end of July will restart the revival of the secondary health care service delivery in Abia State.

“It’s an opportunity for us to Kickstart part of what we had promised regarding the health situation of Abia State. As you all know, the health institution has been challenged over the years.

“The incessant strikes, unpaid salaries and bonuses, infrastructural decay, lack of provision of drugs and consumables. So, you would agree with me that the health sector has not earned its place as it should.

“With the new government arriving and heating the ground running, it’s a great pleasure to see that this is coming on today. The situation we see on the ground is pathetic, but it’s an opportunity for us to show that we now have a governor who’s concerned about the people with action,” she said.

The Commissioner however said that the Free Medical Services that kicked off has nothing to do with politics, urging anyone thinking that way to see things differently, as the government cannot afford to play politics with the lives of Abia people.

“This is not us playing politics, this is us trying to save lives. Hospitals have been shut down for a long them, and most of our people cannot pay for what the private hospitals want.

“Where have they been going to? It has kept me awake all night.. we’re trying to restructure the system and the governor has declared an emergency in the health sector.

“We didn’t meet any on the ground to work with but we’re laying a foundation, but we can’t ask health to wait because we’re laying a foundation, therefore we’re using the medium to reach out to our people who are in dare need of medical attention.”

She said that the Aba General Hospital will be open throughout the week till the end of the month, to ensure that the Free Medical Services achieved the purpose behind its introduction.

“We’ve seen people we have to refer to our teaching hospital for proper treatment. So, if you have to do a follow-up, come back here and they’ll attend to you for free.

“The doctors are here, the nurses are here, but the patients are not here because they’ve lost confidence in the system. This is our attempt in helping to restore that confidence.”

She thanked the institutional heads of the health sector and appreciated them for coming out in full to show support for the organizing of the Free Medical Services.

A beneficiary, Mr Ananaba Comfort said expressed joy that she was attended to by the doctors and nurses whom she said were diligent and dedicated to their work.

“I was told that there’ll be a free medical treatment today because I recently had a partial stroke which came as a result of the loss of my son recently.

“They took care of me including my eyes which have been affecting me. I came here with my husband we’re happy that both of us were attended to. I thank the government for remembering us.”

Mr Nnamdi Onwuka, a beneficiary of the free medical treatment said that he is yet to recover from the shock and disbelief that a government in Abia State will do anything free for the citizens.

“For me, I heard that there’ll be a free medical service today. I didn’t even come to participate in the Free Medical Service. I came here to confirm my usual stand on government promises.

“However, when I got here, everybody was respectful to me, attaching good titles like sir to me before they could address me.

“I am shocked because this is my first time entering any Government-owned facility in Abia State and doctors and nurses will address me as sir.

“They’ve examined me, they’ve given me drugs which they said is free of charge. I’ll not believe them until I step out of the hospital’s gate without anybody harassing me.

“I’ll also not believe them until I get home, take the drugs and confirm it’s real. I’m saying this because I have never benefitted anything from the government here in Abia State.

“Mrs Goodness Ugochukwu expressed joy for the opportunity she had to get medically examined and treated. She added that she has never seen such in Abia before and prayed for the government to continue to serve the people well.

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