Kelvin Ezor|20 February 2017 CRSPHCDA AUDIT TEAM STORMS IKOM FOR LAST STAGE OF CENTRAL SENATORIAL DISTRICT VERIFICATION EXERCISE OF PHC STAFF… I AM READY TO BE CALLED WICKED FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING AND I AM READY TO GRANT AMNESTY, SAYS DR BETTA EDU
IKOM —Since February 1st, 2017 Cross River State Healthcare Development Agency has been saddled with a herculean task of verifiying its PHC staff across the state. So far, CRSPHCDA audit team led by the pragmatic and visionary Director General, Dr Betta Edu has been able to cover 12 LGAs in the state, completely finished with both Southern and Central senatorial districts of the state. The whole exercise has been peaceful, smooth; devoid of victimization or fraudulent activities by the team. At Ikom Council Hall, the exercise started on Monday 13th, February, 2017 with the arrival of the audit team, while the main exercise began with Ikom and Etung PHC workers on Tuesday 14th, while Obubra LGA and one of the council ward in Boki LGA had their turn on Wednesday 15th and with a mop up of all the three LGAs and one council ward in Boki LGA. An opening prayer was said by a volunteer from among the PHC staff. "The exercise in Ikom will start with Ikom and Etung while Obubra will take place tomorrow", said Dr Betta Edu.
Thereafter, the CRSPHCDA Director General in her address, welcomed all PHC staff of Obubra, Etung, Ikom and those that came from Boki LGAs to the verification exercise. She thanked them for showing interest as well as participating in the exercise "it is indeed a pleasure to be here again after the visit of the First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari during the commissioning of a model Primary Health Centre in 2016". According to the DG, Dr Edu, after her tour of some PHC to carry out on-the-spot needs of some PHC facilities across the state where they had over 4, 000 PHC workers, the governor, Senator (Prof) Ben Ayade personally paid an unscheduled visits to some PHC facilities and found out that some PHC had inadequate manpower; some were locked out of service to the public. He became so furious and disappointed at the attitudes of some staff closing PHC facilities for their personal business. Dr Betta Edu reiterated that the agency will be visiting PHC facilities in the state from time to time to carry out headcount of staff to really ascertain the total number of PHC workers as the agency would no longer tolerates the lacklustre attitudes of some workers leaving their duty post, while patients looks for them.
She further warned against extortionist attitudes of some staff, collecting money from pregnant women during child delivery or patients before offering healthcare services to them. She said that any staff who indulges in this wicked act, should desist henceforth or he/she would pay back in hard coins as they will never escapes the law of karma. According to her, child delivery in Cross River State PHC facilities is absolutely free, no one should be made to pay for any healthcare services in Cross River State.
"The Agency is ready to revitalize the healthcare sector and they're ready to be tagged as being wicked if the staff refuses to change their attitudes towards patients", said Dr Betta Edu. She also said that she won't remain the DG forever but she will ensure she make a landmark by revitalizing the primary healthcare sector in the state. "I won't be the DG forever, someone must replace me after my tenure but I want to leave a good legacy before I leave, so I don't care if you tagged me as being wicked for doing the right thing". She further went ahead to read out the requirements for the exercise to includes among others, letter of first appointment, Letter of promotion, certificates, practising licenses, birth certificates/age declaration both original and photocopies to be presented by staff personally as she warns against impersonation, forgery, falsification, alteration and mutilation of documents. She said she was ready to offer amnesty to staff who are not qualified to occupy the titles of what they professed to be rather than forging their certificates to be retained in the Agency. She pleaded with them to comply with the directives as she ensured them that no one will be victimized and witch hunted. Dr Edu frowned at some PHC staff who wore casual dress to the exercise rather than their working uniforms. The exercise at Ikom saw members of the CRSPHCDA, CRHA board, WHO, Labour Unions, State Internal Audit all in attendance to ensure a transparent verification exercise and also to ensure that one is being witch hunted. The NANNM wing of the Labour Union was represented by the state chairman's representative, Comrade Gertrude Agbor who is also the chairman of NANNM, Ikom LGA branch. Similarly, Comrade Ernest Okabor represented the statw state Nigeria chapter of the Nigeria Labour Council. The various unions lauded Dr Edu for her systemic approach adopted in the exercise. Some PHC workers expressed their happiness over the verification exercise in Ikom. A PHC staff from Yakurr who pleaded anonymity said she couldn't be verified at Ugep due to her inability to obtain original copy of her NECO certificate, that she was happy because she was made to go and collect her certificate from her secondary school alma mater which made her to be verified at Ikom. Another PHC staff from Calabar Municipality says she has collected her practising license because of the verification exercise, since she was verified at Ediba PHC being the venue of the exercise for her LGA. As a tradition, PHC staff in Ikom pledged to adhere strictly to the rules and regulations of the verification exercise. They also pledged to be agents of revitalizing the healthcare sector in the state. This ends CRSPHCDA PHC staff audit in Cross River State Central Senatorial District as the ship is to berth today by 3:00 pm at Ogoja for the first set of the verification exercise in Northern Senatorial District of Cross River State. Kelvin Ezor
Reporting from Ikom Council Hall