Friday 20th October, 2017
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Kaduna health sector is soaring high because of prudent management of resources-Dr Dogo

Kaduna health sector is soaring high because of prudent management of resources-Dr Dogo

DR. PAUL DOGO is the Kaduna State Commissioner for Health and Human Services. He has been in the services of the Kaduna State Health Systems since graduation in 1984. In this interview with EMMANUEL ADO, he spoke extensively on the activities of the ministry and many other issues. Excepts:

Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, was recently quoted as saying: “Our programmes are structured to ensure that a preg­nant woman does not die due to inability to access quality servic­es during pregnancy and child­birth; that a child is not lost from preventable diseases, that com­munities are not overburdened with endemic diseases, and that community linkages are har­nessed and promoted” . Interpret this statement in terms of your role as the health commissioner?

It’s very obvious to me that the governor’s statement was made from a well-informed and inten­tioned position. This statement defined the main problem and offered solution in a very point­ed manner, as it were, taking the bull by the horn in tackling high diseases burden, maternal mortality of 547 per 100,000 live births and under 5 the mortality of 180 per 1000 live births and of course reducing the disease bur­den.

The structured programmes the governor talked about which we are currently executing are in two layers. The first are those programmes that are imple­mented by the health sector and these include the revitalization of the Primary Healthcare system, Free Maternal and Child health­care programme, strengthening of routine immunization, ob­servance of the maternal new­born and child healthcare which is commonly referred to as the child health week, child spacing programme, control of HIV/AIDS, control of Tuberculosis, and then tackling of neglected tropical diseases.

The second layer of pro­grammes have to do with tack­ling the social determinants of health. You know there are so­cial determinants that are out­side the purview of the health sector but have very important significant impact on the health of the people.

How far have you gone on the implementation of the Kaduna State Sector Implementation Plan(SIP)?

The Sector Implementation Plan(SIP) is drawn from the State Development Plan which spans 2016 – 2020. Our 2017 budget is drawn from the Sec­tor Implementation Plan and our 2017 budget in the Ministry has further been broken down into implementable and costed activities. There will be quarter­ly reviews of our performance. What we have done to enhance and ensure performance was to tie every activity to a pro­gramme officer by name, so the responsible officer will be held accountable. Because of the sea­sonal variation we have in the occurrence of malaria we have included in our annual opera­tional plan chemo prophylax­is (chemoprevention) for chil­dren.

What are you doing to im­prove the quality of health care services in the state , consider­ing the challenge of insufficient resource for health?

Still on our SIP it is meant to address the challenges facing the health sector. You right­ly mentioned poor infrastruc­ture, poor quality services and inadequate human resources for health. Although you sin­gled out quality of service and human resources, I must also say that even infrastructure is very critical as far as the pro­vision of quality healthcare is concerned.

The expansion and reno­vation of 255 Primary Health Centres, slightly more than that number because more facilities have been added.

So, one of the first things we did was to ensure that these fa­cilities are brought to standard, and that’s why we’ve adopt­ed the one PHC per political ward strategy. All health clin­ics in that ward will feed into it and the Ward Primary Health Centre is also going to feed into a Secondary Health Care facility and we’ve identified one in each of the 23 local government areas.

How soon are we going to start seeing the dividends and when do you expect the first graduates from the Kaduna State University?

As you would recall, we had severe problems with the ac­creditation, so the first batch of medical students had to be sent to Uganda to complete their clin­ical training. Towards the end of last year, they were here on hol­idays and their officials came to see His Excellency to show their appreciation. And by the grace of God they’ll graduate when he’s still in office. You can see the number that will be injected into the system. And do recall that 30 girls were also sent to Uganda to read medicine so as to raise female human resourc­es for the health sector partic­ularly targeted at our women.

So the Ministry has about 70 doctors on training?

Yes, outside the shores of the country. Remember that the objective is ensuring that our women deliver in hospitals. So if we can get female Gynecol­ogists, Obstetricians managing them, I’m sure the women will feel more comfortable. This is a deliberate policy.

What is your ministry doing to ensure that ‘hard to reach’ ar­eas are accessible for healthcare services?

Well, we’ve received tremen­dous support from UNICEF and we have reached quite a number of communities through a de­liberate programme on Hard to Reach, where certain interven­tions have been taken on how to reach them.

One thing we have done un­der the strengthening of routine immunization is that all the Pri­mary Healthcare Centres pro­viding routine immunization are adequately funded, and car­ry out outreach services. This outreach service is what we use in accessing the performanc­es of the PHCs and they must reach the hard to reach areas.

We also have the Com­munity Orientated Resource Person(CORPS), who are res­idents within the community.

What is your ministry doing to check childhood killer dis­eases like pneumonia?

Well, I think it is very impor­tant for me to mention that our strategy in strengthening rou­tine immunization is key. It is very important because it raises the immunity of the community so even when a child comes in contact with infectious diseas­es, he doesn’t get it or even when he gets any infection, it is very mild and will not lead to death.

So, it’s very important that Kaduna State is getting it right in respect to routine immuni­zation. I did mention to you about the community oriented resource persons and their work in tackling Pneumonia in chil­dren. We use dispersible Amox­icillin it is now part of our es­sential drugs list and we ensure it is available. It is very effective in tackling Pneumonia.

We want to plead with moth­ers that anytime a child is hav­ing fever they should not hes­itate to take the child to the nearest clinic. In respect to ma­laria the treatment is free in Ka­duna state. We have been dis­tributing anti-malaria drugs to our facilities in order to combat the problem of malaria.

How are you coping with the challenge of dearth of funds to execute your programmes?

Well, funding I must say is important but healthcare is not all about funding. Your at­titudes and the ability to use the little you have efficiently and ef­fectively matters a lot. Since this government came in what we have learnt is to be prudent, managing resources in such a way that we’re able to achieve much and then coordination instead of running vertical pro­grammes. What we’re doing more and more is integration; once you integrate you reduce cost.