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Doctors Urged To Proffer Solutions To Health Challenges In Delta Communities

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba
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Public Health Physicians have been called upon to proffer solutions that would strengthen the health system and generate the panacea for most of if not all of the challenging health conditions facing our communities, the Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has said.

Okowa, gave the charge Tuesday at the opening ceremony of the 34th Annual General Meeting & Scientific Conference of the Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria held at Orchid hotels, Asaba.

Governor Okowa who was represented by the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mordi Ononye, said the theme of the Conference “Achieving Health Related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria”: The Way forward was very apt saying that the 17 SDGs are cross-cutting and require multi-sectoral collaboration to be achieved.

He said The SMART Agenda of the Delta State Government outlines a blueprint for achieving the SDGs in Delta State by 2030 and listed strategies the state government is implementing to achieving universal health coverage to include the rehabilitation and equipping of Primary Health Care (PHC) Centres across the State in line with the policy of at least one functional PHC centre per Ward thus improving physical access to health care.

Others include the established contributory health care scheme thus reducing inequalities and extending the coverage for financial-risk-protection mechanisms across different socio-economic groups in the State hence reducing out-of-pocket payments for health services.

Governor Okowa further added the implantation of free health care service programmes for the vulnerable groups such as the under-five children, pregnant women and widows as this frees up family resources for other profitable ventures and thereby reducing poverty.

In his address, Hon. Alphonsus Ojo, Chairman, House Committee on Health, Delta State House of Assembly while welcoming the participants to the State, urged them to take time out to savour the peaceful and beautiful tourist’s sites in Asaba assuring them it will leave a good taste in them long after leaving Asaba.

Hon. Alphonsus Ojo, who was represented by Hon. Tonye Timi, Vice Chairman, House Committee on Health, Delta State House of Assembly said that the House would partner with the organization as it is ready to deliberate on the outcomes of the Conference with the view to using them to strengthen our health institutions.

He harped on the need for the physicians to place more emphasis on preventive medicine as against curative aspects since it is cheaper and less stressful and also urged them to deliberate more on those simple things people need to do to protect themselves from diseases.

The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) Chairman, who was represented by Dr. (Mrs.) Minnie Oseji, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health said the theme of the conference is in tune with global concerns and aptly fits into the various national health policies’ plans and that the strategies for effective implementation of these policies and plans for sustainable outcomes have been a major challenge in Nigeria.

Dr. Oseji said they are optimistic that the outcomes of this conference will no doubt bring up very effective and sustainable home grown public health implementation strategies for the achievement even earlier than the year 2030 of the health related SDGs in Nigeria.

She used the medium to thank the Governor, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa and his conscientious and hardworking team for their great support and provision of an enabling environment for the successful hosting of the conference.

In his speech, Dr. Uzorchukwu B., National Chairman, Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria said the SDGs are a timely reminder of the human complexity of human health and the systems that supports it.

He noted that there is an urgent need to address health system gaps in order to make progress in Sustainable Development Goals especially universal health coverage.

Dr. Uzorchukwu stated that at the end of the conference, the chances of providing evidence for policy and practice within the context of health system strengthening will be enhanced.

The keynote address was delivered by Prof. Obehi Okojie, Consultant, Community Health and former Deputy Vince Chancellor, Academics, University of Benin, Edo State.