Last week Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) held the 2021 Physician’s Week in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. The occasion was declared open by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, with participants calling for improved healthcare delivery systems across Nigeria.

Governor Udom Emmanuel who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Moses Ekpo, applauded the contributions of medical practitioners in the fight against COVID -19 and called for support from all stakeholders towards improving the state of affairs in Nigeria’s health sector.

Nigeria’s former President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR and the Chairman, Seplat Energy Plc, Dr. A. B. C. Orjiako, FWACS, presented keynote addresses on the theme of the week, “Nigerian in the COVID Era and Beyond: Health Systems Strengthening for National Security and Prosperity.”

At the background of the occasion was a deep reflection over the outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus that took the world by the jocular over a year ago. NMA was at the front line, fighting from all directions to quell the rage of the virus. That war had over-tasked its array of personnel and stretched its resources thin.

For NMA, there is a every reason for the reflection, stock-taking and renewal of commitment to strengthen health delivery system.
Many advocated for more private participation and support in order to keep the flag of this noble organization flying at full mast, despite casualties recorded by its members in the course of fighting to save lives of citizens.
Thank God that today, the world has vaccines to prevent the deadly virus from spreading at the speed it was at the nick of the outbreak in late 2019.

Recall that the pandemic laid seize of everybody; nobody was spared. Businesses, governments and the health sector were shut down. Only essential healthcare workers, security personnel and some relevant NGOs who could secure pass moved freely, albeit without fear of the virus. Provision of food and medicine took the centre stage of life, as  survival became the only alternative.

In Akwa Ibom State, the NMA was caught up in a frenzy of some sorts; some of its members were harassed and wounded by overzealous security men stationed to enforce the general lockdown that persisted for months.
NMA officers were the privileged few that frequented radio stations to update on the fight against the pandemic, as panicked citizens glued to the radio.

NMA was one of the reliable sources of information on the Coronavirus pandemic but it also suffered setbacks. Medical equipment such as personnel protective equipment (PPEs) turned gold overnight, if you were fortunate to get some, it cane at very high cost.
It was at such a moment of need that Pastor Umo Eno, a man with a large heart to solving human problems, intervened by making available PPEs and other relevant healthcare supplies to assist government and NMA push all frontiers to keep the citizens safe.

Pastor Umo Eno, then quietly donated the most needed help at that time, just to save lives of the citizens but little did he realize that his assistance was documented and that time would exhume his good work to reward him publicly, which was what was acknowledged and celebrated by NMA during its 2021 Physician’s Week in Uyo.
Presenting the award to the Commissioner, the NMA President, Dr. Innocent Achanya Otobo commended him for always assisting the body and prayed God to reward him accordingly.

Umo Eno was one of the panelists discussing the theme: “Strengthening Health Systems through Rural Investments,” where he also advocated for more private participation in primary healthcare delivery. He averred that there was need for strategic private partnership in the primary healthcare system to meet the needs of the rural dwellers.
While eulogizing Governor Udom Emmanuel for his investments in the health sector, he added that a public – private synergy was necessary to revitalise the primary health system to complement this administration’s efforts and close the gap of primary healthcare delivery in the rural areas.

“I remember in those days, we used to have dispensaries or so, that made healthcare services available to rural people. It is not just about government alone, but the private sector can partner with government to ensure that people get medical attention at a closer distance. That would also help to strengthen the system and bridge the gap. Our Governor is investing a lot in the health sector, but government alone cannot do it, there is need for private sector partnership.”

It will be recalled that last year, Pastor Umo Eno mobilized resources from his private business – the Royalty Group – to support the fight against COVID 19.
In one of such gestures, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem commended the initiative of the organization.

Receiving the items from the group’s management team led by the CEO, Pastor Ebong Eno, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, who was flanked by the then Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, said the organization was showing exemplary leadership for recognizing the importance of supporting government in the fight against the pandemic. Ekuwem had described Royalty Group as efficient and effective corporate citizen, particularly in its management approach which has enabled the organization spread its tentacles across the State, besides making its presence felt in the aviation sector through Akwafresh water it serves passengers.

Donating the items, Eno eulogized Akwa Ibom State Government for taking proactive steps in containing the virus, especially with testing which was being conducted in Akwa Ibom State at the world-class isolation centre built by Governor Udom Emmanuel. Ebong Eno had expressed the organization’s delight at NMA and the government efforts for proactive response in the fight against the pandemic.

“You are doing a great work for the state. Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have followed every trend; your response against the pandemic has been remarkable.
It gives us confidence as the citizens of the state that we are safe and that the government and the NMA were doing all they could to take care of all of us. As a corporate citizen, we felt we should not just be receiving from government, we should find a way of supporting the government and the NMA in the fight against COVID19.”

Quest News 24

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