By Michael Peter, The Sight News
Abuja: The Federal Government and the Sokoto State Government on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU to eradicate inequality in access to medical care in that State.
The MoU seeks to harmonise the distribution and operations of both Federal and State healthcare staff for the benefit of at all residents of Sokoto State at all levels including rural communities.
The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole at the signing, lauded the initiative saying that it will enable the transfer of services from the Teaching Hospitals to the rural communities.
“And what we are trying to bridge is the gap between federal, state and local government. There should be no walls.
“What this arrangement will do is to transfer services from the so called Ivory tower to the communities. High literate specialists will offer services and support to the State and the local government. This is why this is unique” he said.
He insisted that there is no way the country can actualise its plan of providing health and investing in its people without the provision of quality healthcare to all Nigerians irrespective of location.
“In fact the economic recovery plan stipulated; providing health and investing in our people. There is no way we can do this if we do not provide quality healthcare for our people. I was in Zamfara, and the Federal Medical Center in Zamfara has about 120 doctors, the State has just 23 to manage 24 hospitals. So there’s a matter of one doctor per hospital. And yet one hospital has about 120. To me that is inequality, and it must not persist in our country. Because those who are not benefitting are also Nigerians”.
The Minister described the initiative as the first of its kind and called on other State governments to emulate it.
“It is something other State Governments should emulate. We should celebrate this model at the governors forum and encourage other state governors to emulate it” he said.
While Speaking during the signing, the Governor Of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal disclosed that all residents irrespective of State of origin will benefit from the partnership, stressing that the State does not discriminate on who benefits from its policies.
“With this signing of this MoU we are going to unleash the doctors we have in the State on all the residents of Sokoto State at all levels. This is for all residents of the state and not limited to indigenes alone. In Sokoto we don’t discriminate. Drugs are free of charge to anyone including passersby. We will ensure that there is fairness and equity and equal opportunities to all in the implementation of this MoU.
“The overriding objective of this partnership is to ensure that available healthcare services reach all nooks and crannies of the State so as to achieve Universal Health Coverage and to harmonise standards and practices in healthcare delivery across the State” he said.
The Governor further disclosed that Sokoto is among the few States that have internalised the national health Act, saying that his government is poised to embrace the challenges and prospect that go along with the new initiative.
Also, the Sokoto State Commissioner of Health, Shehu kakale disclosed that the MoU has five components which include; training of medical personnel, service provision, emergency care, outreaches and leveraging of the technical platform to establish the State teaching hospital and medical centers.