Akase condemns allegation of Ortom’s uncaring attitudes towards healthcare

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Nigerian Concord Newspaper

Mr. Terver Akase, Chief Press Secretary to Benue state governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, has condemned media reports and allegations that the governor did not care about healthcare in the state.

Akase dropped his reactions through a media note he personally wrote yesterday to tackle a statement credited to a prominent Benue son, Prof Simon Irtwange, that the governor had failed to make healthcare available and affordable in Benue state.

Recall that Governor Ortom had yesterday
during his visits to patients in various hospitals in Makurdi including the State University Teaching Hospital, Rahama Hospital, Bishop Murray Hospital and Federal Medical Centre announced that the Benue State Government would fund the treatment of a seven-month old, Verse Asaar, who was born with a hole in the heart.

The child who is being treated at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital Makurdi has been referred for further medical attention abroad.

The governor also settled hospital bills of all patients at the teaching hospital amounting to N3.8 million naira, stressing that the visit to hospitals was to assist the patients and reassure them that the state has not forgotten about them in their time of pain and distress.

But immediately this was announced, Simon Irtwange took to the Social Media to criticize the gesture.

He said: “Rather than make healthcare available and affordable, they create enabling environment for poverty, sickness and disease to thrive and then turn around to take an insignificant amount of the peoples money and pay their medical bills in an unsustainable manner for those lucky to be sick and hospitalised”

In his reactions to Irtwange’s allegations that Ortom did not pay attention to healthcare in Benue state, Mr. Akase reminded the professor that in the United States of America, United Kingdom and Germany which boast some of the world’s best medical facilities, people still fall sick.

The CPS maintained that the governor cares a lot about healthcare in Benue state, and that was why he took his time to visit various hospitals in the state to offset medical bills and as well took charge of the funding of the medical bills seven month old Verse Asaar who was born with a hole in the heart.

Noting that the Samuel Ortom administration cares, Akase also said that the governor has been doing positive/proactive things for the health of Benue people.

Akase also said that: “The fact that medical research won’t end across the globe is because sickness is an inevitable part of human nature. No matter how advanced medical technology goes, man must fall sick and be in need of treatment.

“In the developed worlds where Prof Irtwange appears to say that things are medically perfect, people still pay for treatment as much as governments still carry out free medical schemes such as paying bills of patients who can’t afford the bills.

“I don’t know how else Prof expects the Benue State Government to address the health needs of its people – probably he wants total eradication of diseases (which is an impossibility anywhere in the world)”

According to Akase, Irtwange needs to know that Governor Samuel Ortom, on assumption of office in 2015, released funds for the accreditation of the Benue State University School of Health Sciences which has now graduated more than 200 doctors for the state.

He added that Governor as part of his caring attitudes towards healthcare in Benue state had ensured constant funding of the teaching hospital.

He pressed further that the State Government under Governor Ortom had also ensured the accreditation and equipping of Schools of Nursing and Midwifery, Makurdi now training qualified nurses for the state.

He said: “In 2016, Governor Ortom approved the employment of 86 casual staff of Schools of Nursing and Midwifery. This move was to strengthen the human capacity of the two schools and prepare them for the return of full academic activities.

“In primary health, I am certain that if Prof Irtwange visits Benue communities today, he will surely see that the Ortom administration has completed 42 primary health centres (those structures painted in blue and white colours) in various parts of the state with each of the health centres provided with a motorized borehole to serve their water needs and those of their immediate communities.

“The State Government under Governor Ortom has also provided ambulances for health services in local government areas of the state.

“The government has equally been carrying out awareness on general health as well all providing free mosquito nets and vaccines for the people to prevent diseases of any kind in the communities”

Meanwhile, the Benue State Government has announced the funding of the treatment of a seven-month old, Verse Asaar, who was born with a hole in the heart and is being treated at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital Makurdi.

The little child whom Governor Ortom said deserves to live just like any other Benue child has been referred for further medical attention abroad.

During his visit to patients in various hospitals in Makurdi including the State University Teaching Hospital, Rahama Hospital, Bishop Murray Hospital and Federal Medical Centre yesterday, the governor also settled hospital bills of all patients at the teaching hospital amounting to N3.8 million naira.

He said further that the visit to hospitals was to assist the patients and reassure them that the state has not forgotten about them in their time of pain and distress.

He described as cordial and result-oriented, the partnership between him and the two hospitals – Rahama and Bishop Murray Hospitals in the treatment of hernia, snakebites and other medical conditions, saying many lives have been saved through the process.

He lauded the Catholic Church and the management of Bishop Murray Hospital for the uncommon courage and resilience exhibited by the hospital through prudent utilisation of resources, saying the progress made in the hospital was impressive.

Health Coordinator, Catholic Diocese of Makurdi, Rev. Fr. Peter Paleve, commended Governor Ortom’s life saving initatives through free treatment of snakebites patients, stressing that the Governor’s partnership with the Integrated Health Programme had transformed the hospital to a great extent.

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