Staff Audit: ‘Go an extra mile to keep that pregnant woman, that little child alive’ -Dr Betta Edu

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Kelvin Ezor|20 February 2017 VERIFICATION OF PHC STAFF CONTINUES IN OGOJA,
BOKI AND BEKWARA NLC STATE CHAIRMAN COMRADE USHIE, W.H.O REPRESENTATIVE DR MUYIWA OJO, PHC WORKERS LAUDS EXERCISE Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency PHC staff audit team led by Dr Betta Edu commenced the ongoing personnel verification exercise for PHC workers in Northern Cross River Senatorial District on Thursday 16th, February, 2017 at Ogoja Legislative council chamber. The DG, Dr Betta Edu welcomed all Ogoja, Boki and Yala PHC workers to the verification exercise. She emphasized on the importance of the verification exercise in the primary healthcare system. She reiterated that some PHC facilities are under lock and key because of workers abandoning their duty post for their own businesses, causing patients especially pregnant women to resort to quacks, traditional birth attendants, religious worship places thereby losing innocent souls to death, the Governor who is unhappy with our lack lustre attitude has directed that the agency carry out a staff audit to ascertain the true number of manpower in the sector. This will inform employment to fill where there is inadequacy. She was bitter about such lackadaisical attitudes among PHC workers in the state and advised PHC workers to desists from such. According to her, the verification exercise became necessary because some grey areas needed to be addressed to rightly position staff that were wrongly issued letters of appointments/promotions where they never met the requisite qualifications. Dr Betta Edu insisted that the right things ought to be done in CRSPHCDA. She cautioned that the agency won't tolerates such under her watch, emphasizing that PHC facilities ought to be opened 24 hours and there should be no reason for it to be shut down "we can not deliberately continue to kill healthcare services", "we must go back to work" says Dr Betta Edu. She related her ugly experience when she paid an unscheduled visit to one of the PHC facilities where she was treated with disdain: "you can imagine if me, the Director General of Cross River State Healthcare Development Agency could be treated in such manner because I came in disguise, imagine what will happen to an ordinary person in the village". She said that anyone who doesn't
takes healthcare service delivery serious in the state, should quit so people who are qualified and are looking for the jobs can be employed to offer qualitative healthcare services to members of the public. "we can not be paying workers when they are not ready to work, or unskilled staff who lack the requisite qualifications and licenses to practice, when they are people looking for the jobs" She begged PHC workers in Ogoja, Boki and Bekwara LGAs not to distort  the vision of the Governor in giving Cross Riverians accessible and qualitative healthcare service delivery. "None of us, not even me can distort or hinders healthcare service delivery in the state" The DG, Dr Betta Edu sternly warned against extortionist behaviours of some PHC workers; collecting money from people before offering healthcare services to them. Saying further, "anyone caught in such attitudes would be shown the way out. We must offer selfless health services to  all Cross Riverians. She said that she was ready to insist on the rights benefits for PHC staff but if they would cooperate by doing what they are required to do as PHC workers. In furtherance to ensure no ghost worker exist in the PHC facilities and for credibility, during the head count, she requested for photocopies of PHC workers time book across the various PHC facilities in the Local Government Areas covered during the verification exercise in Ogoja. She said, "for this process, we have the approval of His Excellency, Senator (Professor) Ben Ayade, CRHA Board  representatives, Major Iwara, WHO representatives, Labour Unions represented by Comrade Ernest Okabor, Directors of CRSPHCDA and others were all in attendance to ensure that the staff verification exercise meets international standard. Representatives of various partners also took their turn to address the workers. Comrade Okabor, representing NLC addressing Ogoja, Boki, and Yala PHC workers said that NLC came to monitor the exercise in order to ensure that the exercise is transparent and no one is being witch hunted at the end of the exercise. He reiterated the need for PHC workers to put up their best as "he who comes to equity must come with a clean hands" and so, NLC would not support any indolent staff who won't go to work but sit at home to collect salaries. Dr Olumuyiwa Ojo of World Health Organization speaking, said  that WHO is committed to reduce maternal mortality, infant mortality and they were ready to partner with the state to ensure qualitative healthcare services at the grassroots and that WHO supports the verification exercise of PHC workers in Cross River State. CRSPHCDA Board was not left out as its  representative, Dr Mr. Okpachu also addressed the staff. He begged workers to sit up to their duty. Director General in her closing remarks, urged PHC workers to go an extra mile to keep that woman, that baby alive. "Let's change our… attitudes (echoed by all PHC workers). PHC focal person, Mrs. Eno M.T. Orok speaking for Boki LGA pleaded with the DG, Dr Betta Edu to assist PHC workers by liaising with the state government through her good office to provide more PHC workers to avert the incidence of closure of some PHC facilities.
She said that some PHC facilities were inadequately staffed and pleaded that government should employ more competent hands as they were willing to work. The DG in her response to her plea, said that one of reasons for the exercise too, was  to address disparities in number of  personnel working in the facilities and if the number wasn't enough, the digital Governor has already given approval to employ more workers to be employed to offer qualitative Healthcare services to members of the public. The Chapter Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress, Cross River State Comrade Ushie came in midway to the exercise proper. He was given an opportunity to address the staff where he said that the union's presence at the verification exercise was to ensure that all staff abides by the rules and regulations of the exercise; noting that no one would be victimized. He therefore implored PHC workers to ensure that they get their practicing licenses ready as they are dealing with precious lives of members of the public. He eulogized the DG, Dr Betta Edu and her team for their wonderful giant strides recorded so far in the exercise; noting that it is the best workers' verification exercise ever recorded in the state, especially in Ayade's administration. PHC workers chanted their anthem in praises to a DG who the described as "too much". Kelvin Ezor
Reporting from Ogoja Legislative Council chamber