Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, on Thursday inaugurated the South-East Consultative Committee on Health (SECCH) and charged the members to discharge their responsibilities effectively and satisfactorily.
Inaugurating the 12-member committee at the Government House in Enugu on Thursday, Governor Ugwuanyi said it would serve as a medium for grassroots mobilization and information dissemination on the guidelines for achieving improved healthcare and social well-being of the entire people of the zone.
Uwuanyi outlined the committee’s terms of reference as: to harmonise and facilitate the fruitful and productive coordination of all health-related activities in any or all the states within the zone; create a multi-sectoral platform that would harness and mobilize abundant private resources to complement government budgetary allocations and channel same towards public health improvements, optimized health service delivery and overall well-being of the citizenry.
Governor Ugwuanyi, who was represented by his deputy, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, further added that the committee would mobilize and strengthen traditional, religious and community-based institutions for health outcome improvement through the promotion of a sustained positive health-seeking behaviour of residents of the zone.
The committee has Prof. Frank Ezugwu as chairman, and Sir Chinedu Ezemuoh as Secretary while all the commissioners of health in the five states of the zone are members.
Other members of the committee include the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Rev. Dr. Callistus Onaga, Prof. (Mrs) Adaobi Obasi, HRH, Igwe Alex Onyido, among others.
Earlier, the Director General, South-East Governors’ Forum (SEGF) Secretariat, Prof. Simon Ortuanya said the primary focus of the secretariat when it was set up last year by the SEGF was to foster regional integration, accelerate economic development of the zone within the context of a united Nigeria and also seek partnership with international donor agencies.
Ortuanya said that in partnership with international donor agencies such as DFID, World Bank, UNSAID, UNICEF, Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, UNESCO, and others, the SEGF would seek support toward critical health interventions, particularly in time of health emergencies.
But responding on behalf of the committee members, its chairman, Prof. Frank Ezugwu said that the task before the committee was quite “enormous and challenging”, although he quickly added that “with our collective resolve we will be able to surmount them.”
Prof. Ezugwu said: “We know the issues about health generally in the country – poor data, basic statistics, poor health-seeking attitude, non-availability of things to works with and so on,” adding, however, that “we will use our God-given knowledge and energy to see if we can harness whatever assistance, both internally generated and externally generated, to improve the health of the people.”
He said the committee needed the governors’ “complete support and cooperation” to enable it perform its challenging responsibilities.