Publisher's Comment

Initially the programme was low-key involving only screening for diabetes, malaria, hypertension, arthritis, rheumatism and other diseases. This was soon expanded to the provision of operations and surgeries. Among the type of surgeries carried out are gynecological cases for the removal uterine fibroid and ovarian cyst, ophthalmology surgeries for the removal of cataract, excision of pterygia, lens repositioning and conjunctiva mass excision and general surgeries involving hernia, hydrocele, renal cyst and appendicitis amongst others. Provision of dental surgery was later included in the schedule of surgeries to be carried out. Probably because of the high incidence of casualties among women and children two other programmes were instituted to reduce mortality incidence among these sub-groups of the Delta state population. The programmes are the maternal health programme and medicare for children under-five. These two programmes are a major success.

So successful are these programmes that women and children from nearby states come to Delta state to be treated in government hospitals. Now incidence of maternal mortality has been reduced by 60 percent in the state to 221 for every 100000 and for children under-five the figure is 17 for every 1000. These are impressive figures. The under-five programme is so effective that over 95 percent of the state is under immunization cover from the notorious childhood diseases like poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, whooping cough, diarrhea etc.

A major part of these programmes is that they are free. With this proviso government hospitals are regularly swamped with patients many from the states of Edo, Anambra, Bayelsa. That is, however, no problem as the government has over 250 doctors on its payroll. There is no incidence of backlog of medical cases.

Part of Dr Uduaghan's health plan is the provision of health facilities within a walking distance. Thus every local government has, at least, one General Hospital just as there are Primary Health Care centers within a five kilometer radius. These hospitals and health centers are also adequately staffed by competent medical personnel. Equipments for them to perform well are also at hand. Above all the level of motivation is high.

Almost all the Nigerian states have launched one health programme or another with much fun-fare but not all have recorded the achievements that have been recorded in Delta state since Dr Uduaghan began his administration. Despite all these laudable achievements, the state is not taking a rest. Rather it is looking at ways of improving what is already good and making it even much better. The Governor has a capable team in the state ministry of health headed by Dr. Joseph Otumara as commissioner to call on in this.

By improving Delta state's health sector and making it an enviable model, Dr. Emmaneul Ewete Uduaghan has justify his past awards as a competent leader and his most coveted award as the Best Governor in Healthcare Delivery. This will also remain as a legacy to a doctor turned politician who believed so much in the Hippocratic Oath.

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