Health commissioner chairs entry meeting of a 2 work-week visit by WHO

Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala has chaired an entry meeting of a 2 work-week visit to the state by World Health Organisation (WHO).The meeting marked beginning of the work-visit by the WHO to the state.In his address, Dr Vincent Okpala, noted that the Ministry of Health requested for the 2 work-week of meetings and activities with WHO Anambra and WHO technical team from Abuja.The meeting was held in his office at the Jerome Udoji Secretariat Complex, Awka.This was to enable the state and the visitors, as a group to examine ways of introducing efficiency into the management of the Health System Strengthening (HSS) project, for effective and desired outcomes.’’

The commissioner explained that the EU/WHO HSS project in the state will end in August 2021.He noted that the termination date left the state and the partners with one year to make gains and achieve the objectives of the projects.Dr Okpala observed that a lot of gaps were left to be filled in the period, and with particular respect to strengthening of coordination.

He categorised a lack of coordination as the most critical challenge facing the project.The commissioner urged the teams to prepare for the demands and for identification of rooms for improvement, efficient resource utilisation and reprogramming of activities.

He addressed the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on health systems all over the world, with varying degrees of fragility.Dr Okpala elaborated on the state’s response, in the best ways possible and how the response could affect the goals and objectives of the EU/WHO HSS project in the state.`One of such changes is the establishment of COVID-19 Action Team at the LGA and community levels.The arrangement accommodates CBOs, Civil Society Organisations, community leadership and LGA political and health authorities.

This arrangement is intended to be a permanent one, and subsume the existing Polio Rapid Response Team (RRT) structure in the state.The state intends to use the new RRT structure for all public health interventions in the future.’’According to him, the state is looking at the best ways to implement the advice for optimisation and integration of existing health information systems, digital platforms, technologies and human resources, to achieve a system-wide improvement in data completeness, timeliness, quality and use.

The approach is evident in the ongoing harmonisation and linkage of all data sources in the state.’’He assured of his readiness to support partners and staff members in achieving the desired objectives of the HSS project in the state.The commissioner however, commended the EU in Nigeria and WHO Nigeria for their continuous support in strengthening the healthcare system of the state.

Technical Lead from WHO Abuja, Mrs Nkiru Ukor, described the events leading to the presence of European Union (EU) and World Health Organisation (WHO) Health System Strengthening Project in the state.Mrs Ukor a pharmacist explained that the visit was a sort of mid-project review, and presented an opportunity for facilitating the achievement of the objectives of the project.

Present at the meeting include Special Adviser to the Governor on Health/Executive Secretary of Anambra State Health Insurance Agency, Dr Simeon Onyemaechi and Executive Secretary Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu.Others are Director, Public Health and Disease Control, Dr Uchechukwu Onyejimbe, Director, Public Health and Disease Control WHO Anambra, Dr Ugochukwu Chukwulobelu.

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