Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, has announced the commencement of free medical examination once every year for civil servants, political appointees, first class traditional rulers and other senior citizens in the state at the state-owned health institutions.
The move, he said, is part of his administration’s robust plan in the health sector, aimed at ensuring that Bayelsans live a healthier life.
The governor, who made the announcement on Monday while inaugurating a 13-member board for the Bayelsa State Health Services Scheme at the Government House in Yenagoa, asked members of the board to work out the modalities for the immediate commencement.
He reiterated the dedication of his administration to provide quality and affordable health care services to people of the state at all times, as part of its cardinal objective.
According to him, the importance of health makes the sector very critical and as such his government has invested massively to ensure that residents of the state do not travel to other states or outside the country for medical tourism.
“I want a system where people don’t wait to fall ill before they take advantage of our health facilities and so the Head of Service will work with the board to ensure that every civil servant and all those captured by the law gets free medical examination at least once a year”.
While congratulating members of the board, the governor stressed that they were carefully selected because of their integrity and proven track record in the public and private sector which is overwhelming.
He, therefore, charged them to live up to expectation by ensuring that they dutifully perform the task before them and announced an initial takeoff grant of one hundred million naira for the board.
Dickson, who emphasised the need for a sound health care delivery system for those in the rural areas, also assured that by the end of the year, every political ward in the state will have a functional health center that will be full operational with staff quarters.
As part of measures to fund the board, he said: “A percentage of our IGR ranging between 5 to 10 per cent will also be made available on a monthly basis to support the board”.
The governor, therefore, called on everyone in the state to subscribe to the contributory health-care delivery system, saying the scheme will be expanded very soon to accommodate members of the private sector.
In her remarks, chairperson of the board, Prof. Onyaye Euphemia Kunle-Olowo, thanked the governor for the confidence reposed in them and assured him that they will carry out their responsibility with utmost dedication and openness.
Other members of the board are Dr Zuoboemi Agadah, Executive Secretary, Mrs Monica Azazi-Olarinde, member, Dr. Kojo Ebi Omietimi, member, Mr Anthony Ikhobo, member and Mr. Eboh Mazi, member.
Other members are Comrade John Bipre Ndiomu Comrade Tari Dounanagha, Dr. Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei, Mr Egbe Gibson, HRM King Funpere Aka, the Ibenanaowei of Gbarain kingdom, Mrs Ijeoma Ndiomu and Mr. Obaro Ologbo.
The Bayelsa State Health Services Scheme was established by law several years ago but the absence of basic health infrastructure and facilities made it non-functional until the coming of the present administration.