By Tayo Joseph Lagos, Nigeria


For eight years, the immediate past APC administration in Rivers State neglected the health sector. Rivers people in rural areas were denied access to quality healthcare.  The people had no access to quality secondary healthcare  because  all the General Hospitals in the state   were left to rot.
Statewide improvement  in healthcare delivery  was one of the cardinal  pledges that Governor Wike made to the good people of Rivers State during the electioneering campaign that led to the flushing out of the failed Amaechi administration.
In the last two years, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has worked towards creating  a comprehensive  healthcare framework  that caters for the needs of Rivers people. The administration has invested in the improvement of health facilities and services across the state, while taking care of the welfare of professionals  in the sector.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, was in Rivers State to lay the foundation for the construction of an ultra-modern doctors quarters  at the Braithwaite Specialist Memorial Hospital. This project is progressing  satisfactorily.
Training of Health Professionals 
The administration established a College of Medical Sciences at the Rivers State University and also started the setting up of the State Teaching Hospital with the signing of the bill to actualize it.
Support for Private Medical Practitioners 
In order to guarantee that more residents of  Rivers State have access to quality healthcare, the Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike flagged off a private hospitals loan scheme (PHLS).
The first batch of the scheme witnessed  37 hospitals in the state having access to N500 million to upgrade their facilities and improve their services to the people . Seven of the beneficiaries are non-indigenes, while 30 are from Rivers State.
Flagging off the PHLS at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Governor Wike urged the private medical practitioners to apply the loans judiciously.
The state government would pay the interest on the loans on behalf of the beneficiaries, while the beneficiaries will pay the principal sum. This novel  scheme has improved  access to quality healthcare in Rivers State.
Unprecedented Rehabilitation of Secondary Healthcare Facilities
Prior to the advent of the Wike administration, secondary healthcare  had collapsed across the state. These General Hospitals  suffered criminal neglect during the leadership  of the immediate past APC administration in the state.  Therefore, Rivers people in rural communities were denied access to quality healthcare.
In line with the vision of the Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike to create access to quality healthcare for the people of Rivers State , the Wike Administration commenced the total rehabilitation of 13 General  Hospitals .
The following are the hospitals being rehabilitated : General Hospital Omoku, General Hospital Nchia , General Hospital , Abua , General Hospital Isiokpo, General Hospital Abonnema, General Hospital Okirika , General Hospital Opobo , General Hospital Bodo, General Hospital Ngo, General Hospital Buguma, Psychiatric Hospital , Rumuigbo , General Hospital Emohua and General Hospital Eberi.

Rivers people from all walks of life have declared  their support for the Governor’s commitment to rebuild the health infrastructure in the state. These hospitals have never witnessed any form of rehabilitation since they were constructed in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Governor Wike declared that his administration will transform the secondary healthcare sector of the state as a means of improving the living standard of the people.

The governor said that the state government resolved to revive the secondary healthcare facilities because they were abandoned for over two decades.
Their upgrade would open a new chapter in healthcare delivery in the state . Quality healthcare would be close to the ordinary people of Rivers State at their doorsteps .
Recruitment of Medical Personnel/Improvement of Facilities at Braithwaite Specialist Memorial Hospital
Aside the development of physical  infrastructure in health facilities  across the state, the Wike administration has  recruited qualified medical  professionals  to help the state government  strengthen  access  to quality healthcare.
Also, facilities at the Braithwaite Specialist Memorial Hospital (BSMH) have been improved by the administration.  Governor Wike has released  $4million for the purchase and installation of modern equipment at the BSMH.
The administration will implement a phased distribution  of vehicles to doctors  on the payroll  of the state government in the course of the year.
International Specialist Hospital 
The Rivers State Government under the leadership of Governor Wike has started the process to construct  an international  Specialist Hospital  to handle life-threatening ailments. The  New Specialist Hospital will promote medical tourism in Rivers State.

The  hospital will have a helipad, modern equipment for the treatment of cancer, kidney, heart and liver diseases.
Planned Completion of Mother and Child Hospital in Port Harcourt 
In addition, the administration has released funds for the completion of the Ultra-modern Mother and Child Hospital in Port Harcourt.  The hospital will be ready in four months, following  the termination  of the joint ownership agreement with the Niger Delta Development Commission.
By developing the health sector, the Wike administration  is ensuring  a healthy population, which will in turn galvanise the rapid development  of the state.  Governor Wike has explained at different fora that his investments in the health sector  are to reduce to the barest minimum avoidable  deaths in rural communities.

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