Bayelsa State Government on Friday, August 13, asked agencies of the Federal Government not to neglect the state government in their plans to build health facilities in the state so as to ensure a more coordinated arrangement that will benefit all stakeholders.
The Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Health, Dr. Wisdom Ebiye Sawyer stated this during an Advocacy Brief by officials from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the National Emergency Maternal and Child Intervention Centre (NEMCHIC).
He explained that the terrain of Bayelsa State is different from other states and regions in the country, therefore the NPHCDA, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) should consult with the state Primary Health Care Board before health centres are built.
Dr. Sawyer called on the federal team to also take the advocacy for improvement in primary health care to the NDDC and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs so they can be abreast with the current state of health facilities across the state.
He added that the perennial flood is a big challenge to health facilities, as they always strive to elevate hospital equipment in order to save them from being damaged by the flood.
The Permanent Secretary thanked them for their interest to integrate general health services, nutrition, maternal and child health services, and advised them to also compile health data from remote areas, like Fishtown in Brass, Agge in Ekeremor, Jujutown in Nembe, amongst others.
On her part, the Chairman, Bayelsa State Primary Health Care Board, Mrs. Victoria Denenu said the Primary Health Care Board is just three years old, and the findings of the NPHCDA team are what the government has been discussing.
She said some communities give the government “bad bush” or land that is far from the communities to build health centres which causes poor response and patronage of these facilities by residents.
Denenu added that another major challenge is that the local government councils are responsible for employing cleaners, security guards and gardeners and as such it is difficult to have control over their activities.
She therefore called on the government to look into the situation, saying they will do their best to improve the health facilities as some midwives were recently employed and sent to the various health centres.
Speaking on behalf of the NEMCHIC team, the Principal Scientific Officer, Mrs. Victoria Aziodoh said they developed a checklist and visited two high performing health centres and two low performing ones.
She said the PHCs in Yenizue-gene and Agudama in Yenagoa Local Government Area, were high performing with patients praising the efforts of health professionals and encouraging others to come.
On the other hand, the PHCs in Elebele and Oruma in Ogbia Local Government Area were low performing with challenges of drugs, low client flow, insecurity, amongst others, and appealed to the state government to relocate the PHC at Oruma to a better location.
Mrs. Aziodoh called on the government to grant more support to the State Emergency Maternal and Child Health Intervention Centre (SEMCHIC) to enable them do more and improve the health indices of the state.
She stressed that there are a lot of things that have to do with maternal and child health, hence the need for integration of services and engagement of additional midwives as some facilities do not have midwives.
Also speaking, the Director Nursing Services, Ministry of Health, Mrs. Cynthia Boufini said midwives will be reshuffled to ensure even distribution across the health centres.
She noted that this will be done in two months while adding that more midwives will be employed and trained to increase their competence across the state.
High point of the meeting was the signing of a commitment by the Permanent Secretary to ensure relocation of midwives, integration of services, relocation of the health center in Oruma and provision of additional security in health centres.