Governor Alex Otti of Abia State has commissioned the 100 bed Sustainable development Multi-purpose Hospital, Obeaja in Ugwunagbo LGA built by the federal government under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking while performing the ceremony, Governor Otti thanked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his commitment to the healthcare sector which saw to the completion of the project as well as the renaming the SDG Mother and Child Hospital to a Multipurpose Hospital to accommodate other members of the society.

Governor Otti while emphasizing the importance of healthcare in his administration’s strategic agenda, highlighted the 2001 Abuja Declaration, in which other African countries pledged to allocate at least 15% of their budgets to healthcare, pointing out that Abia State’s 2024 budget has met the target.

According to the Governor, “Healthcare occupies a major position in our strategy as a government.

“In 2001, the heads of governmentsl in Africa under what is now known as Abuja declaration met in Abuja and gave a directive that all the countries of the African union should allocate no less than 15% of their budget to healthcare.

“The jury is still out as to how many of those countries that adopted that resolution that has complied. I’m happy to report that current 2024 budget of the Abia state government which we are half way in implementing, allocated 15% of the budget to healthcare.

“So what you have done here is consistent with the objective of this government “, Gov Otti stated.

The Governor noted that the goal of his administration for the health sector is in alignment with the Federal Governments Sustainable Development Goal 3, which aims to reduce maternal mortality to 70 per 1000 live births by 2030.

He noted that Abia state has made significant progress in maternal health, with the state’s maternal mortality rate dropping from 1,047 per 1,000 in 2020 to 531 in 2022, and further to 136 in recent reports.

The Governor, however expressed optimism about future improvements assuring that with his administration’s deliberate focus on the healthcare sector, the state would witness a downturn in infant Maternal mortality rates.

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“It is interesting to hear from her Excellency that our maternal mortality rate has reduced from a 1,047 that it used to be in 2020 to the 531 it was in 2022 and if i were to quote her, she says it has gone down to 136 presently that means we are doing well but we’re not there yet we still have a long way to go but we have moved.

“The numbers for Abia may not be very current but I’ve seen numbers like 171, as at 2021 but what is clear is that before this time, child or infant mortality actually increased from the numbers in 2016 & 2017 about 83 per 1000 to 2021 and the Numbers increased to 115 per 1000.

“The current numbers are not here yet but I can assure you that by the time the numbers would start coming out, we will be getting downward to actually less than 80 and why should it be that way, because this government is very deliberate and intentional and focused on healthcare delivery”, the Governor remarked.

He unveiled plans for a comprehensive medical village, designed to curb medical tourism, which costs Nigerians between $1.6 billion and $2 billion annually.

“Our goal is that by the time we finish with our medical village, at least 10 percent of $2 billion will be spent in our state,” he announced.

Governor Otti who assured that the state government would assume the management of the newly commissioned hospital, promised 24-hour security, additional land for the building of doctors’ quarters, and the establishment of a facility management team to maintain high standards.

In an address, the wife of the Governor,Mrs Priscilla Otti represented by the wife of the deputy Governor Mrs Adaeze Emetu said that the realization of the project is part of the unwavering commitment of government in providing quality and accessible healthcare for all.

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In her remarks, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable development Goals SDGs, Princess Adejoke Adefuliren noted that the project conceived in her first tenure under former President Muhammadu Buhari has come to fulfil the dream of every mother for a safe delivery in a healthy and conducive environment.

She said that similar projects have been executed across the 36 States of the federation under the Sustainable development Goals to promote the standard of living ,adding that the project is in line with the renewed hope agenda of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration with commitment to priotizing key interventions with multiplyer effects on multi- dimention Poverty.

In an address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Ifeyinwa Uma-Kalu said the hospital was established to serve the community without limitations as women and children bear the brunt of failed systems.

She appreciated Governor Alex Otti for changing the narratives in the health care services and described the project as another milestone towards achieving a sustainable and efficient healthcare services in the health care ecosystem of the state.

Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer, Hospital Management Board (HMB), Dr. Odochi Azubuike said that Governor Otti’s commitment to healthcare of the people led to the completion of the long abandoned project in partnership with the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals MDGs.

She said that the idea of establishing the facility is to achieve one of the Millennium Development Goals , which is ensuring healthcare for mother and child, adding that the facility is fully equipped to provide antenatal care, management of child diseases and general medical services.

Baring his mind on the project, the deputy Mayor, Ugwunagbo LGA, Mr Kelvin Chijioke who Expressed joy with the project which he described as first of its kind in Ugwunagbo, assured that stakeholders in Ugwunagbo will take ownership of the hospital and ensure that it serves optimally.

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