By Philip Nweze,
September 5, 2016 will live on our collective memories. It was one of the unforgettable moments that made both headlines and history across the world. It was a defining moment for the state. On that day, the name “Ebonyi” was elevated into national significance and prominence. For a people who were noted for their timidity, vassalage and backwardness by several years of psychological battery and debilitating poverty, it was an extraordinary transformational leap. The event of that day marked an evolution of a new generation of proud, avid and confident Ebonyians with innate attitude of breaking new grounds and churning out wonders.
By the end of September, 2016, Ebonyi state under the watchful eyes of Engr David Nweze Umahi had stood tall among her peers, brandishing for herself a model lassa fever diagnostic and treatment centre valued at N350m. The state clearly defied the lashings and fury of the economic recession and emerged tall among other south eastern states with a multi-million naira project that humbled other state governors, being the youngest in the zone. Obviously, the modern virology laboratory was quickly put in place during the outbreak of the fever to mitigate the danger of the deadly disease. To equip the centre, the state executive council also approved four ambulances and four dialysis machines, both to be stationed in each of the designated hospitals in the three senatorial zones, and hospitals within the state capital to ensure adequate and prompt action against the spread of the virus.
A lot of people both natives and non-natives, including medical workers had perished to the disease in the state over the years, which wouldn’t have been so, if they were given prompt diagnoses and treatment. The essence of the virology lab therefore was for prompt analysis of suspected Lassa Fever case, to proffer solution by way of treatment without endangering the lives of other patients and medical health workers. Before now, the nearest virology diagnostic centre was at the Specialist hospital in Irua, Edo state, where the health workers that were infected with Lassa fever in Ebonyi were treated. A drive from Abakaliki to Irua takes at least five hours.
The gargantuan complex upon completion was inaugurated by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole. Adewole who was in company with his Agriculture counterpart, Chief Audu Other, said he was excited that a state government could embark on such a life-saving centre “without any prompting by the federal government” and immediately announced that the centre would be converted to South-southwest diagnostic and treatment centre.
For actuality, I would simply replay Prof. Adewole’s words: “I am actually short of words; I am yet to recover from shock over this giant strides. This actually surpasses my expectations and I must say clearly that we should see this as a partnership…” His candid assessment of the Governor showed a picture of a man with impressive brilliance, versatility and incisive mind.
Until recent, Ebonyi ranks low among the populace as the twin issues of poverty and ignorance held the people down from achieving their potentials. Not anymore! A clinical analysis of the present situation by the current administration in the state appears to be moving the hand of the clock forward. The twin problem of lassa fever, guinea worm and malaria have always remained key issues among the health challenges ravaging the people. With this novel strategy, Engr Umahi has become synonymous with the new face of Ebonyi.
Today, the health indices of Ebonyi state, under the enigmatic engineer-turned politician, has rebounded with renewed vitality, thanks to massive investment in human and critical public infrastructure.
Ekubaroha Safe Guarding The Lives Of Ebonyians