Development partners have commended the many strides of Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq in the health sector, saying the achievements point at the governor’s firm commitment to public good.
The commendation was made in Ilorin, the capital city, Monday, where the state officially flagged off an investment fund to deepen access to primary healthcare services in Kwara State through IMPACT project.
IMPACT, an acronym for Immunization Plus and Malaria Process by Accelerating and Transparency, is funded by the World Bank after the state paid $100,000 counterpart funds. Each benefiting PHC is getting N4.6 million to upgrade primary healthcare infrastructure.
A representative of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, commended the administration for its strategic partnerships and investment in primary healthcare programmes to deliver quality healthcare services to the citizens.
Mulombo, who spoke through the North Central Coordinator for WHO, Dr. Asma’l Zeenat Kabir, said Kwara was able to have the programme in place because of the leadership commitment of the governor.
“I want to, on behalf of the representative of WHO, commend and congratulate the Kwara State Government for establishing the IMPACT project to improve access to universal health coverage,” she said.
She lauded AbdulRazaq for providing the enabling grounds for WHO to deliver on its 2023 goals, which she said, was meant to cover at least 3 billion people worldwide.
“WHO’s 2023 goal is a global goal that has the 3 billion live goal. The first is that WHO intends to reach 1 billion people to have access to universal health coverage. Of course, this is part of the way for which the WHO appreciated Kwara State.
“Another 1 billion people are going to become healthier. And 1 billion more people will get protected from health emergencies. This is in direct alignment with what the Kwara State Government has been doing,” she said.
She called on the implementing agency to ensure that the project is effectively handled to achieve the set objectives.
The event was well attended by the governor; Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi; Senator Umar Sadiq (Kwara North); cabinet members including Commissioner for Health, Dr. Raji Razaq; Executive Secretary, Kwara State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Nusirat Elelu; state Coordinator of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Mr. Hanifa Hamza; and state Team Lead, Africa Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET), Dr. Tinuke Ahmed.
Others were the representative of the Emir of Ilorin and Balogun Alanamu of Ilorin, Dr. Abubakar Usman Jos; the Olupako of Share, Oba Haruna Olawale Sulaiman; traditional rulers and chiefs; and representatives of the primary healthcare centres across the 193 geopolitical wards of the state; among others.
Raji, in his remarks, said that the health sector under the present administration has been transformed to meet the needs of the populace, commending AbdulRazaq for his leadership qualities.
Elelu, for her part, said the administration has repositioned the health sector through prompt payments of counterpart funds, adequate investments in basic infrastructure, prompt payment of salaries of health workers, and their promotion, among other incentives that enable the state to stand shoulder high on health issues in the comity of states.
She said the agency will do everything within its power to ensure that the resources entrusted into its care are utilized for the common man and in line with the necessary guidelines.
Hamza from NPHCDA urged the state to ensure diligence and accountability, saying the two qualities will actually pay back.
AFENET’s representative, Dr. Tinuke Ahmed, for her part, said the IMPACT project indicates that the government means well for its people and promised to work closely with the administration in the implementation stage to enable it reap the full benefits of such investments.
AbdulRazaq, for his part, said the programme again underscores his administration’s focus to ensure universal health coverage for the average Kwaran.
“I welcome you all to this important occasion which signals another milestone in the life of our administration. One of the cardinal goals of our administration is to ensure universal health coverage for all Kwarans, irrespective of their location. This has guided all the strategic interventions we have made in the health sector.
“One of the early commitments our administration made is the Expression of Interest in the IMPACT Project by meeting all the necessary requirements, including the payment of $100,000 counterpart fund.
“The idea is to enable our Primary Health Care Centres to have some level of financial autonomy and the capacity to optimally deliver basic health care services to the people.
“This (programme) is a continuation of the legacies of our administration. We have consistently been investing in the health sector, including the primary health care system through renovation or construction of health facilities in several locations in the state, recruitment of all cadres of health workers. We have equipped many of our health facilities with equipment this state never had before. We will not relent, especially now that the results have been quite impressive,” he said.