AS part of measures to bring medical services closer to the riverine communities, the Delta State Government has inaugurated and handed over two boat ambulances for use in the ‘hard to reach communities’ in the state.
Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr. Mordi Ononye, handed over the Boat Ambulances during to Dr. Patrick Omu, Zonal Medical Director, Central Hospital Warri yesterday at Shell yard, Ogunu, Warri in Warri South Local Government Area.
Dr. Ononye listed the six beneficiary Council Areas to include Bomadi; Burutu; Patani; Warri North; Warri South and Warri South West with the charge to the Zonal Medical Director and the Executive Secretaries, Local Government Health Authorities to make judicious use of the boats for the benefit of the communities concerned.
He decried the situation in which over the years there have been complaints of inability to provide social services to some communities in the State on the ground that they are hard to reach areas due to the difficult riverine terrain but can be reached for the purpose of extracting the resources there.
The Commissioner stated that the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is averse to this stand hence his efforts at making sure such communities get same services including primary health care services that communities located upland do enjoy.
He commended the duo of Mr. William Angadi and Captain Smart Asekutu, Chairmen, Bomadi and Warri North Local Government Areas (LGAs) respectively for being present at the ceremony which was a display of their commitment to the activities in the health sector in their LGAs.
“I was very happy to hear of one of the resolutions reached from one of the meetings of the Council Chairmen that the Vice Chairman from each Council Area should oversee issues in the health sector in their Council Areas’’ the Commissioner added.
Dr. Mordi revealed that in the next three months, the State Government will take delivery of another batch of two boat ambulances with the view to increasing the number of boat ambulances available for use in the riverine communities and this development will make it possible for these communities to experience and receive more frequent visits from Health Teams.
“Our Executive Secretaries (ESs), Local Government Health Authorities who are the number one Medical Officers in the LGA should be able to from their roasters schedule days that they can use these boats to access clinics in those hard to reach communities and hence be able to attend to patients who might not be able to come to town for medical care” he said.
According to the Commissioner, “these ambulances were purpose-built as they have more space inside and some level of comfort for the end users including toilet facility when compared to the regular ones we have”.
Explaining what the boats would be used for, Dr. Ononye said though they will be parked at a place to be decided by the Team, the Executive Secretaries are expected to use the boats most of the time, patients would be evacuated to hospitals with the boats and also used for medical outreaches.
“For the purpose of coordination of the usage of the boats and accountability we expect that the Executive Secretaries from the six benefiting LGAs having drawn their activities in collaboration with the Primary Heath Care Development Agency, will work with the Zonal Medical Director, Central Hospital Warri.
In her remark, Dr. (Mrs.) Isioma Okobah, Executive Assistant to the Governor and Board Chairman, Primary Health Care Development Agency said the additional two boat ambulances will go a long way in assisting her Agency in carrying out its immunization and vaccination exercise as well as ensuring that the maternal health care services are given full attention in the hard to reach communities.
Mr. William Angadi, Chairman, Bomadi Local Government Area assured the Commissioner that a proper maintenance care of the boats will be put in place so that the boats will serve the Council Areas for years to come.
Dr. Patrick Omu, a Consultant Gynaecologist and also the Zonal Medical Director, Central Hospital Warri, while receiving the boat ambulances thanked the Commissioner for the opportunity given to them to be a part of the State Government’s efforts at making accessible and affordable medical care a reality for the hard to reach communities.
He assured the Commissioner that he would work closely with Council and the Executive Secretaries, Local Government Health Authority with the view to making the boat ambulances services a success.
By Donald Ojebo/Matthew Okoata