Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has taken a bold step towards strengthening healthcare delivery in the state through his assent to the state’s Health Sector Reform bill passed into law by the State Assembly. The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Fintan Ekochin, who addressed newsmen after the meeting of the State Executive Council (EXCO), said the new law will bring a lot of positive changes to the health sector in the state and will comprehensively address health-related issues for the people’s overall benefit.
Dr. Ekochin explained that the law has new components that were integrated for positive results, disclosing that the district health system introduced by the colonial government has been repackaged and replaced, accordingly. He added that the district health boards were also affected by the new law, saying: “We are now going to key into the Ward Health System, which the World Health Organization (WHO) had recommended and was long adopted by the federal government.”
The health commissioner further explained that the law gives the state government the authority to oversee healthcare from the hospital management board, saying that “this hospital management board takes over from health management board that existed before now”. Dr. Ekochin disclosed that a new agency, the Primary Healthcare Development Agency, will be established immediately “to ensure that the primary healthcare programmes are implemented in Enugu State under one roof, in line with the National primary healthcare care development agency’s guideline.
“This is going to see to further revitalization of primary health care centres at the grassroots designed to provide adequate healthcare services to the rural dwellers,” he said. Another component of the new law, according to the commissioner, was the Agency for Universal Health Coverage, which he stated has world health coverage. He revealed that the agency will further expand the Free Maternal and Child Health programme of the state government, which had been in existence for years.
“This programme saw to the free treatment of pregnant women and children under five”, he noted.