Anambra State Ministry of Health has validated its Annual Operational Plan (AOP) that emerged from the State Strategic Health Development Plan II (AN-SSHDP II).
Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala explained that his ministry had the capacity to midwife AOP developments that would be based on the State’s Strategic Health Development Plan II.
Dr Okpala gave the explanation while addressing newsmen in Awka after the validation of AOP meeting with stakeholders and partners on health.
He noted that the validation could have taken place earlier but for the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions it was shifted to August.
“Earlier delays were due to challenges presented by a faulty workbook. Fixing this locally, we ran into the disruptions caused by emergence of COVID-19 pandemic
“While waiting for early and stringent COVID-19 restrictions on congregations to be lifted, some of our programme leaders were transferred to other Units in the ministry.
“So, this entailed revision of some of the priority areas in the AOP with the new programme leaders.”
The commissioner observed that in spite of the challenges, the document presented for the validation was a product of several engagements with the training workshop of some staff members in Lagos in 2019.
“It continued through the AOP workshop in the state in October 2019. We used the State Ministry of Health’s (SMOH) resources and capacity to drive the process.
“Our Technical Adviser on Health and Head of Healthcare Finance Unit in the SMOH worked individually with all the programme leaders since then to get this document right.
He explained that the state could confidently say that document was also a product of collaboration and an exercise in health system strengthening.
“The document belongs to all of us, staff members of the ministry, our friends from sister MDAs in the state and partners.
He noted that the EU/WHO Health System Strengthening project (HSS) deserved special mention because of its sponsorship of the major events leading to the development and validation of 2020 AOP.
“Our approach to the development of the 2020 AOP, with the support of the listed partners ensured that the ministry and its programme leaders would sustain the implementation of key activities in the AOP throughout the challenges.
“It presented to us with a golden opportunity to take stock of our progress, identify priorities for the rest of the year and prepare for the accommodation of missed opportunities in the development of next AOP for the year 2021.”
He urged stakeholders to join his ministry in the sustainability of programs and preparation for life after the EU/WHO HSS project and other partner- led development initiatives.
Dr Okpala said that he was optimistic that the success of the AOP development project positive outcomes and impact would support advocacy for continuous support from partners in new areas and initiatives.
“Whatever we are doing is for the healthcare of Ndi Anambra. All the activities from the ministry take from the AOP except when we have emergencies like COVID-19, then, we might start having some deviation because it was not planned.
“So, if you are going out to immunise children, it is coming from this as everything revolves around AOP.”