Governor restates   WHO’s leadership role in promoting health, urges more presence at grassroots level

Owerri, 19 September, 2018 - Governor of Imo State, His Excellency Rochas Okorocha says the World Health Organization (WHO) occupies a central position in the development of the health system in Nigeria and general improvement of health status of the population.

“There’s no need over-emphasising the fact that WHO remains the pivotal point on which all health activities in the world rotates. Without WHO, we don’t know what the world will be today,” says Governor Okorocha. 

Welcoming the WHO Country Representative (WR) to Nigeria, Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu to Imo Government House on 18 September 2018, Governor Okorocha further appreciated WHO for its role in promoting health and wellbeing, stressing  the Organization’s consistency in the fight against polio.    

“In Imo State, our major concern is health infrastructure. There is a co-relationship between health and the environment. We also need to focus on health education,” he emphasized. Therefore, he said, “WHO can support us as a matter of urgency to embark on health education.” The governor regretted that many Nigerians, particularly in Imo, are not health-literate and depend on unorthodox services when sick, instead of seeking care from government-approved facilities. 

Presently, WHO is contributing to health systems strengthening interventions in Imo State through leveraging on existing polio eradication infrastructure to provide integrated health services to reduce neonatal, child and maternal mortality. The Organization has also strategically positioned its staff to strengthen preparedness and emergency response to epidemic prone diseases, through early warning systems and surveillance.

During the courtesy visit, Governor Okorocha approved request by Dr Alemu for a befitting office and pledged to support a state-wide survey on non-communicable diseases. He also endorsed introduction of a joint health insurance scheme, which indigenous citizens of the State can benefit from. 

Earlier in his remarks, the WR who is attending the Biennial Administrative Review Meeting (17-22 September 2018), expressed gratitude for the support Imo is providing to WHO. “I will also like to recognize your leadership and the members of the State’s health sector, especially for the steps taken to sign the Primary Health Care Development Agency Act. This is a very important milestone towards achieving universal health coverage and aligns with Federal government’s vision of providing universal health coverage through the revitalised system which WHO is fully backing up,” he stated. 

Given the high number of undetected cases of tuberculosis (TB) across Nigeria, Imo inclusive, WR further solicited government’s involvement for increased awareness creation and timely reporting of TB cases. “There are presently over 300,000 tuberculosis cases that have not been detected. We must make sure these missing cases are found and reported in time,” he stated. 

Imo State is hosting the WHO administrative review meeting during which participants aim to deliberate on procurement processes, integration of key performance indicators, appraise execution of previous recommendation and share best practices among others. 

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