UNICEF To Imo Govt: Fund Health Sector Through Sustainable, Holistic Approac
BY EMMANUEL MGBEAHURIKE, Owerri
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has implored the Imo State government to take responsibility and put in place adequate budgetary provision towards funding the health sector.
It urged the state government to show commitment through the provision of the necessary funds and logistics ,so as to improve the quality of health and the service data.
UNICEF’s Health Specialist, Enugu Field Office, Dr.Olusoji Akinleye, stated this while addressing participants at the Reproductive Maternal Neonatal Child Adolescent Health Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) scorecard development training workshop for Imo State.
According to the health specialist, the state government could achieve this through putting in place strategic mechanism aimed towards monitoring and evaluating delivery of informed decision making in respect of health care delivery to the populace .
Dr Akinleye said a situation where the hospitals and personnel are not properly equipped to function effectively is not acceptable, just as he advised the state government to key into best global practices.
He noted that in all human endeavours health is very paramount and government at all levels should give funding of the sector a priority through adequate funding and manpower development as the importance of this sector cannot be over emphasised.
Akinleye charged the Monitoring and Evaluation Officers ( MEO) to ensure that the data they collect stands the text of time as well as ensure that they present the collated data in a holistic and sustainable manner.
According to him, the officers should avoid over-reporting and under-reporting data and there is need to ensure that such data is interrogated from time to time.
His words: “Data collectors should be made to work in a sustainable , harmonious form, overeporting and under reporting should be discouraged. The local government should be encouraged to come up with accurate data for effective health care service delivery. When no body takes responsibility nothing is achieved.”
The Health Specialist charged them to be creative, work productively, think outside the box and show commitment to serve selflessly.
In his presentation, Dr John Quinley, Consultant UNICEF, Nigeria Office, noted that UNICEF is working with States and National governments so as to strengthen the health care system.
He said one of the activities is promoting better use of accurate data in form of score cards to action and accountability.
Dr Quinley submitted that these scorecards present available data in a way that is easy to interpret and encourages action.
He revealed that the data are colour coded in such a way that citizens through perusal can identify how they are fairing at a glance and the score cards compels the administrative units of various local government areas to keep accurate records .
He made it known that this approach was developed by African leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) and has spread throughout Africa.
Dr Quinley explained that the Federal Ministry of Health has developed a national scorecard through the assistance of UNICEF, Imo State and is the 28th to key into the system.
The Imo commissioner for Health, Dr Barthy Okorochukwu, said the state government has rolled out free medical care to all pregnant women undergoing antenatal care, delivery, including ceaserian section.
He also revealed that all children under the age of five are treated freely through the state Health Insurance Scheme and the Primary Health Care Development Agency .
The commissioner who was represented by the director in the Ministry of Health,
Dr Uloma Evi-Parker explained that the scorecards will serve as an advocacy tool for all the stakeholders so as to have a buy-in in the the delivery of efficient, effective and impactful health delivery service towards the achievement of universal health coverage in the state.