By Reuben Onyishi

Health is one aspect of the existential concerns of mankind. A healthy person is someone who is not only physically fit but has one’s entire body system work perfectly.Such a situation of perfection seems untenable as some organs may malfunction, leading to the body’s systemic disorder. It could even be a situation of cellular challenge. Such scenario raises the question of health concerns. Human science has this question in mind in the development of medical and biological remedies to body function disorder. At times, this disorder may occur as a response to physical environmental challenges in terms of accidents and environmental outbreak of diseases. It could also be as a result of the body system’s response to the stimuli and harmful encounter with micro organisms. Such outbreak may be endemic – when localised to a particular place – or pandemic – when spread to various places.

God Almighty himself is mindful of human health and prescribed to the people of Israel, his chosen people, the kind of food to eat that their health be sustained. That is to say that the human body may be made or marred by what is eaten. God Himself wishes above all things that we may prosper in health. It follows that a people’s prosperity is not only measured by the preponderance of material wealth available to them but by the soundness of their health. Poverty abounds with any nation or constituted authority whose workforce is unhealthy. The power to make wealth is a function of healthy hands.

Therefore, every government should as a matter of priority place the health of its people above every other thing. Doing so requires a proactive provision for health facilities and workers to carter for the health challenges of the people. Over the years in Nigeria, we have had situations of poor health facilities. Our hospitals, if hospitals they are, are bereft of basic medical facilities. Trained manpower in the health sector is also inadequate and oftentimes, quacks are patronised. The few trained ones have left the country in search of greener pasture. As a result of all this malfeasance on the part of our leaders, many unavoidable deaths have occurred. Seeing that the health sector is impoverished by themselves, our leaders and their families go overseas for medical treatment, leaving the neglected local health system for its lowly and impoverished citizenry.

Elsewhere in overseas, adequate care and resources are committed into the health sector, a key sector of national economies. Besides the-state- of- the-art facilities in place, the citizens enjoy health insurance benefits. Health workers are adequately remunerated and well taken care of. This is one of the reasons for the avalanche of brain drain we suffer in the health sector here in Nigeria Many Nigeria health workers are breaking new grounds and doing exploits in the medical field overseas.

A proactive government does not wait for the occurrence of diseases and health issues before committing resources into medical research and the procurement of health facilities as well as the engagement of the services of experts on health matters. A stitch in time saves nine. This proverb is a thin thread that may artfully guide preemptive provision for medical challenges. This is one area where Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has shown outstanding wisdom. Prior to Covid-19, Ugwuanyi had committed huge resources into the medical field and that was why it was easy for the state to effectively manage the Covid-19 pandemic. His government immediately released the sum of N350 million to the state’s Covid-19 Multi-sectoral Rapid Response Team and established isolation and treatment centres at Nsukka and ESUT Teaching Hospital, Parklane, Enugu. Ugwuanyi also did equip the intra-modern Enugu State Diagnostic Centre and designated it as an isolation and treatment centre. Besides this, His Excellency approved welfare packages for all health workers in the state as an incentive to battle Covid-19. He purchased two additional ambulances and one incident vehicle and also ordered the enforcement of the presidential directives on nationwide curfew and interstate movement restriction order. By then he had begun to massively reconstruct the Colliery Hospital, Enugu now Infectious Disease Isolation and Treatment Centre. His Excellency also rehabilitated facilities and provided essential supplies in 34 health facilities across the 17 local government councils in Enugu State to bolster the delivery of linked services and in preparedness against community spread of Covid-19 pandemic via Enugu State One Million Lives ( SOML) Project.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Ugwuanyi had recorded the following giant strides in the health sector:
* Completed the the state-of-the-art Enugu Diagnostic Centre, Enugu.
* Constructed and renovated district hospitals and health centres in the state, especially in the rural areas,under the primary healthcare programme.
*Upgraded Udi District Hospital and Poly Clinic Asata, Enugu to general hospitals, having rehabilitated them.
*Constructed a tertiary hospital at Igbo-Eno, in Enugu North Senatorial District to serve as one of the facilities that would augment the ESUT Teaching Hospital relocated to Nsukka.
* Massively constructed and reconstructed the Enugu State Infectious Disease Hospital, formerly known as Colliery Hospital, Enugu, mentioned above.
* Launched the Universal Health Coverage.
*Intervened and integrated faith-based clinic rural health facilities into the Free Maternal and Child Health Programme.
* Massively constructed 7 units of type 3 primary healthcare centres in 7 local government councils in the state and upgraded General Hospital, Ogrute, Enugu Ezike and Nsukka District Hospital, among others.
* Constructed cottage hospitals with isolation wings in Awgu, Oji River, Ogrute and Orba.

When opportunity meets preparation success is inevitable. The spread of yellow fever in Enugu North Senatorial District was unfortunate. The government of Ugwuanyi quickly moved into the place and finding it was yellow fever began to tackle the scourge headon. Free treatment is offered to those infected and the vaccine is made available to all in the state free of charge. The availability of the vaccine to the people is made possible through the primary healthcare initiatives of the state government and the positioning of medical facilities in the villages and local government councils. That accounts for the containment of the spread of the yellow fever disease. This is thanks to the visionary leadership of Dr. Lawrence Ifeanyichukwu Ugwuanyi.

Ugwuanyi’s achievements in the health sector are unrivalled. The state-of-the-art medical facilities in Enugu State are deliberately put in place to make for the sound health of the people of the state. Ugwuanyi’s Midas Touch in the health sector is something worthy of commendation and emulation by various governments in the country. If it would be done elsewhere in Nigeria as it is done in Enugu State healthwise, our leaders would have no reason to spend our foreign exchange abroad in the name of medical checkup and treatment.

Enugu State is indeed in the hands of God.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here