Delta Governor, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to fully operationalise the National Health Act to curb the high rate of maternal and neonatal mortality in the country.
Okowa made the call at the inauguration of Asaba Specialist Hospital, which was performed by his Adamawa counterpart, Alhaji Ahmadu Fintiri, in Asaba.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for operationalising the National Health Act, but remarked that it was being implemented in part contrary to the full content and letters of the Act as passed by the National Assembly.
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According to him, when fully operationalised, half of the funds would be utilised in providing free treatment to the vulnerable group thereby reducing prevailing high maternal and neonatal mortality rate which has become an embarrassment to the country.
The governor disclosed that in Delta, his administration, in 2017, operationalised its Contributory Health Commission Law.
“Realising that most of our women are unable to pay we decided that we will pay the premium for all pregnant women and children under the age of five years.
“This we have been doing in the last four and half years and we are aware of the impact it has made in society.
“I believe that it is something doable in the entire country because when the National Health Act is fully operationalised, many children will be able to access free healthcare.
“I call on the Federal Government to ensure that all funds as contained in the National Health Act is fully released and 50 per cent will go to the vulnerable, which includes the pregnant women and children under five years,” he said.
He stated that part of the Asaba Specialist Hospital was operating under a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) arrangement for efficiency.
Inaugurating the hospital, Fintiri commended Governor Okowa for demonstrating great leadership traits which had culminated to numerous projects being inaugurated across the state.
Earlier in his welcome address, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Ejiro Ogheneaga, had said that the inauguration of the hospital was an actualisation of the healthcare component in the stronger Delta agenda of the Okowa administration.
He stated that the hospital was designed to offer tertiary healthcare services and serve as a referral centre for secondary and primary healthcare facilities within and outside Delta.