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Church demands Subvention to Catholic Hospitals – As Imo State Council on Health meets



Lady Achunine reading at the meeting.

Lady Achunine reading at the meeting.

Catholic Health Services of Imo State has once again appealed to the State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, to approve subvention to Catholic Hospitals in the state.

This is contained in their submission to the 2nd Imo State Council on Health Meeting held July 9-12 at the Imo Concorde Hotel Owerri.

The State Council on Health meeting is convened to bring together all stakeholders to assess the situation in the health sector, identify areas of priority and proffer solutions.

The Catholic Church’s submission was read on behalf of the Catholic Bishops in Imo State by the Provincial Health Co-ordinator, Lady Stella Maris Achunine. She gave reasons for the request for subvention, which include; that some patients are indigent and do not pay their bills and the church finds it difficult to detain them; that subventions were paid to Catholic hospitals in the past; that the mission hospitals help to reduce unemployment.  For example, Emekuku hospital alone has over 1,000 workers.

Apart from the request for subvention, the Catholic Church is also asking the state government to post health personnel to mission hospitals on secondment; build at least one academic block in each school of nursing in the state and provide them with a bus each; assist the Schools of Nursing/Midwifery to realize final accreditation; provide administrative bus for the Co-ordinator, donate ambulances to the hospitals and ensure that Catholic Hospitals benefit from MDGs’ Projects including World Bank assisted programmes,

Catholic health facilities in Imo State comprising Owerri, Orlu and Okigwe dioceses are 51.  They include; health posts, primary health centres, secondary and tertiary health institutions like Emekuku Hospital.  Of these facilities, Owerri Archdiocese has 16, Orlu 12, Ahiara 9 and Okigwe 14.

“As a health-friendly Governor, we prayerfully urge that you, (Governor Okorocha) consider the request for assistance to Catholic Health Services and also see us as partners who complement your health programmes and not as competitors”, the address added.

In his address on the occasion, the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, restated his preparedness to make Imo State the health destination of Africa.  The Governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Anthony Anwuka made it clear that this administration pays priority to the health care service delivery of the people.  He said that it was for this reason that his administration has embarked on the building of 27 general hospitals in the 27 LGAs of the state as well as embarking on the health at your door-step programme.

Earlier in his address, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Obi-Njoku, stated that the State Council on Health (SCH) is the state counterpart of the National Council on Health (NCH) which holds annually. “It is by derivation, the highest advisory and policy-making body on health matters in the state”, the Commissioner explained.

Dr. Obi-Njoku recalled that the 1st Imo State Council on Health Meeting was held nine years ago (2004), regretting that the inability of the state to hold the annual meeting in the subsequent years has created gaps in the planning, co-ordination, harmonization and implementation of health programmes by various stakeholders in the health sector in those years.

“It is in recognition of the strategic roles of the State Councils on Health that in the 55th regular session of the National Council on Health (NCH) meeting held from 16th-20th July, 2012, the Council directed all State Governments to hold at least one Council on Health meeting before the next NCH meeting which comes up in August 2013 in Lagos.”

The Commissioner used the forum to enumerate various steps taken by the State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha in order to achieve the desired progress in the State Health Sector.

However, our reporter said the achievements did not indicate partnership with mission hospitals as is the case in Anambra State where the Governor, Mr. Peter Obi has donated millions of Naira to both Catholic and Anglican hospitals to show that the State and the Church are partners in providing healthcare to the people.

The theme for this year’s Imo State Council on Health Meeting was: “Community Based Primary Health Care: A Road Map to Accelerated Health Care Delivery in Imo State”.

The lead Paper titled, “Towards A Re-Vitalized Community-Based Primary Health Care Delivery – An Imo Rescue Mission Strategy”, was delivered by Prof. Ikechukwu Dozie, (KSM), a Professor of Public Health Microbiology and Dean, School of Health Technology, FUTO.



USAID begins Covid-19 testing in Imo rural areas



USAID averts 25,000 unwanted pregnancies in Ebonyi, Kogi

…Umuagwo Varsity of Agric kicks-off October

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun Covid-19 testing in the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State, “in a bid to reduce the impact of community spread of the virus in the rural areas of the state.

The Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba disclosed this in Owerri while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Weekly Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday.

Chief Emelumba said so far, the USAID officials have carried out reasonable number of testing in Njaba LGA and reported that all those tested came out negative and that the council prayed that the result from other Local Government Areas will be the same.

He announced that the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the take off of the Imo State University for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Umuagwo in October this year.

According to him, the approval underscores the efforts which the Imo State Government ably led by Governor Hope Uzodinma has made towards the establishment of a second university for the state.

Recently, the NUC panel was in Imo State to carry out the necessary verification exercises on the state facilities, human and physical infrastructures.

Mr. Declan Emelumba, who was flanked by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard Ikegwuoha, Commissioner for Health Dr. Damaris Osunkwo and the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku, informed that the Executive Council is happy that something new is happening in the Education Sector of the State.

Emelumba said that the Imo State University of Science and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo will take off by October when other universities would be resuming for a new academic session.

In the same vein, the Council has approved the immediate relocation of Faculty of Engineering Imo State University Owerri to its permanent site at Okigwe, stressing that Government has put all processes and facilities on ground to ensure the immediate take–off of the faculty.

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital



Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM  Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.

The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.

Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.

“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”

The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.

Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council



Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has inaugurated a new Governing Council, for the Imo State University, IMSU, Owerri.

At the inauguration ceremony on Monday, August 31, the governor named Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji as the Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the University.

Other members of the Council include: Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, Chief Tony Ezenna, Prof. (Ven.) Chinedu Nebo, Sir. Louis Ezeigwe, Chief Engr. Ernest Nwapa, Dr. (Mrs.) Uwandu Uzoma, Ugoeze Victoria Adaku Ekezie, Prof. Adaobi Obasi (Vice Chancellor) and others.

Speaking at the inauguration, Governor Uzodimma said the choice of the members is to infuse fresh air into the university because “It is in dire need to bounce back to reckoning.”
He added that the choice of the members was because they have carved a niche for themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and that they have earned solid reputation as men and women of substance in their individual trade, indices that qualified them for the appointment.

He challenged the members to bring their reputation to bear on the University, bearing in mind the task for good quality scholarship in Imo State University as well as service to humanity.

The Governor urged the members to deploy their individual accomplishments, excellence, expertise, passion for service as effectively as necessary to actualize the dream of his administration of having a highly reputable University comparable to the best Universities in the World.

He also requested the Council to “restore in words and deeds the motto of Imo State University, which is Excellence in Service”.

“Imo State University currently is a classical example of a failed University,” Governor Uzodimma said but strongly believed that “with a star studded Governing Council such as the one inaugurated there is no doubt that Imo is on the track to realize the dreams of her founding fathers.”

He further enjoined the Council members to quickly hit the ground running and come up with policies and programmes that will reassure Imo people that the University that made them proud 20 years back is on track as he assured them of Government partnership in this regard.

In an acceptance speech, on behalf of the Council, the Chairman, Most Rev. Ugorji who is the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia thanked the Governor for the absolute confidence reposed in them by giving them the assignment and acknowledged that though the task is daunting he has a strong belief that with the calibre of members of the Council and support of the management, staff and students the University will be returned to a centre of excellence which was the dream of the founding fathers.

He said that Imo State University deserves the best and that he and his members as inaugurated will work acidulously to ensure that the target of the governor in making Imo State University one of the best universities in Africa is realised.

He congratulated fellow members and promised that God’s willing, they will not fail the government and people of Imo State.

Present at the inauguration were the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, and other members of the expanded State Executive Council.

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