From PETER OKORE, Umuahia
The Abia state government has declared a state of emergency on the deplorable healthcare services in the state.
To this end, the State Ministry of Health has kick-started a one month free medical services to her citizens, at designated centers.
The exercise, which commenced at the General Hospital, Aba, last weekend, will move to another location Saturday this week, and is expected to impact positively on the healthcare needs of residents of the state. It will offer free medical consultations, free body checkups, surgical procedures free blood pressure and Sugar test, together with free drugs.
Consultants from the Teaching Hospital, both cardiologists, pediatrics, and optometrists are available to attend to people.
Disclosing these during the flag-off of the exercise, the State Commissioner for Health Dr Ngozi Okoronkwo, explained that the exercise is intended to assist the residents of the state meet their healthcare needs as well as restore the peoples confidence in the public healthcare sector.
She re-iterated that the exercise is in-line with the state of emergency declared by Dr Alex Otti, on the health sector in the State, because of its deplorable state.
Okoronkwo maintained that many emergency health needs of residents would be attended to during the exercise, even as urgent steps will be taken by the State government to reposition the healthcare sector.
According to her: “Our Target is to revitalize three general hospitals in the three senatorial zones in the State within our first 100 days in office. We attempt to restore the hope and confidence of our people in the public health system. We want to begin by allowing people to come and receive free medical treatment.
“We refer serious cases like pediatric cases and patients with stroke attack, to the Teaching Hospital for medical attention. Many others ,who ordinarily could not access medical treatment, are prone to having medical attention at the exercise.
“Medications are free, nobody is paying a dime to access these services.
“As a follow-up to what happened today, we envisage a situation where people may need to come back for follow-up medical care, to that effect
“We have instructed the workers at the designated treatment centres to stand- by and ensure that those services are available to patients who may have the need for follow-up medical care, because this service will continue to the end of the month. All the doctors have promised to make themselves available.
“We have an insurance system that’s supposed to cover babies who are 0-5 years. We use that to support the treatment that the baby will receive at the teaching hospital”.
Appraising the exercise so far, Dr Ofor Ikechi, the Optometrist in- charge of the Aba General Hospital, said more than 100 patients, received free medical consultation and drugs.
He pointed out that the exercise will continue for the next three Saturdays to reach many other residents in the State.
Said he: “We have always been on duty to make sure that everything is ready for this exercise. We are grateful that this exercise is happening within this period we are in the system here.
Hallmark watch understands that most of the patients seen on the first day were those with sight defects and needed medicated glasses for the correction of their sights, but could not afford same The Health commissioner assured that patients with eye defects will get their glasses by this weekend.
One of the beneficiaries Mrs Ukaoha Eze Joy Ijeoma appreciated the State government for introducing Free medical services.
Hear her : “I came for an eye check and I have seen the doctors and I’m now going to take my drugs.
“I feel restored because I used to come here for the delivery of my children, but for some time now when I come here I feel very bad because nothing was happening again. But today I feel restored.
“I’m very grateful for this exercise. I appreciate the governor and the active Commissioner for Health”.