COVID-19: UUTH CMD Lauds FG For Health Sector Budget Increase

The chief medical director of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH) has lauded the Federal Government for the passage of coronavirus disease special appropriation and increment in the capital allocation to the health sector in the proposed 2021 budget. Dr EmemAbasi Bassey who made the remark while declaring open the 34th National Conference /Annual General Meeting of the Institute of Health Service Administrators of Nigeria (IHSAN) which took place at the conference room of the institution, Wednesday, noted that the measure would facilitate the equipping of molecular laboratories, isolation centres and intensive care units in all the federal tertiary institutions. Bassey pointed out that although COVID-19 has brought a devastating effect, it was not entirely a bad news as it has more than any other advocacy exposed the shortcomings of the health sector and thus attracting considerable investments and improved funding. "Without doubt, the COVID19 emergency has not only exposed the poor state of health care facilities in many health institutions, but has drawn global attention to the already overburdened public health systems in many countries, said the CMD. He remarked these realities underlined the urgent need for all-round investment in the health systems, particularly in the area of quality health personnel, motivating work environment, improved conditions of service, quality training, cutting- edge equipment, modern infrastructure, funding of medical research and need-based social dialogue to build resilient health systems and primed for effective and timely critical roles both in crisis response and in the future health emergencies. He commended President Muhammadu Buhari , the minister of health, Dr Osagie Ehanire; and the National Assembly, for giving a priority to the tertiary institution in the budget. The associate professor maintained that the UUTH has remained critical both in the management of COVID-19 cases as well as efforts to contain the pandemic in the state and appreciated the efforts of and sacrifices made so far by health workers of the institution, the Akwa Ibom government, the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), health institutions nationwide, international donors, corporate organizations, public-spirited and indeed the masses for the sacrifices made to ensure effective management of reported cases and control of the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria. The chief gynecologist and obstetrician, observed that the theme of the 2020 conference: "Challenges of Managing Health Services under Pandemic Disease: COVID-19 Experience, was not merely apt but trending. According to him, the disease by its typical, sudden, spontaneous and widespread nature has often imposed strenuous challenges on health services, but such remained exceptional daunting for many familiar reasons. Bassey expressed optimism that the outcome of the conference would be of inestimably benefits, particularly to health care delivery in Nigeria. The chairman on the occasion, Professor Etete Peters, corroborated that the theme of the conference and topics chosen for discussion were apt as COVID-19 brought sad experience to hospitals as it exposed the inadequacies of health institutions which suffer issues including: capacity building, inadequate manpower, lack of facilities and brain drain. He urged the IHSAN to come out with a communiqua on the way forward to addressing the issues affecting the running of the health system. Etete, former chief medical director of the UUTH, noted that ISHAN founded 10 years ago has grown by leaps and bounds, while congratulating it for the feats attained, especially in capacity building. He stated that the feat were worthy of emulation and called on the body to sustain the relationship with the chief executives of teaching hospitals.

Dr Atolani Oluboyede, national president of IHSAN, said 2020 was a challenging one in the history of health care in Nigeria following the outbreak of COVID-19, stating that health professionals were able to rise to the challenge and paid glowing tribute to them. Oloboyede who also condemned the#EndSARS Police brutality which resulted to loss of lives and wanton destruction of property, advised Nigerian youths to embrace dialogue in their pursuits. He welcomed the intervention of the federal and state governments in the setting up of commissions of inquiry to look into the matter, but cautioned law enforcement agencies to always exercise restraint in dealing with protest of any kind. The president hinted that the pandemic halted programmes of the association and explained that the conferment of fellow awards on some members was in recognition of their contributions to the growth of the body. The director of administration, UUTH, Mr Fidelis Akpan Esq, extolled the chairman, board of directors of the institution, Senator Salihu Egyebola, for his dynamic style of administration, Chief Doja Adewolu and the interest in manpower development, and the chief medical director, Bassey, for his unwavering support to staff training and development as well as providing an enabling environment for the hosting of the conference. Akpan who is the chairman, central planning committee of the conference, said it was richly packaged with topical issues relating to the theme of the workshop and therefore implored all participants to avail themselves of the training opportunity and to contribute positively to discussions during plenary. Papers presented at the conference are: "Health System Management Today and Tomorrow: The Legal Imperatives, by Mr James Odiba Esq and "Effective Health Care Management in a Digital Age, by Dr Motilewa Olusoji. " 

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