The dream of an improved healthcare delivery system for the people of Ikot Ekpene local government in Akwa Ibom State has finally been realised with the unveiling of a state of the arts modern secondary hospital and referral center for the area.
The 117 years old Ikot Ekpene General Hospital which had suffered years of neglect and dilapidation, was an eyesore until Governor Emmanuel Udom commenced intervention exercise last year.
At the inauguration ceremony which attracted former President Goodluck Jonathan, Governor Udom Emmanuel assured the people of the state of his committment to the upgrading and reconstruction of healthcare facilities, security of lives and property and manpower development.
He said his administration believes that these three fundamental elements determine and shape the social contract and have tackled these crucial areas with “messianic zeal and the results are there for any discerning or dispassionate mind and eye to see.”
Governor Emmanuel, who was represented by his deputy, Mr Moses Ekpo, expressed gratitude to the former president for honouring his invite.
“We are grateful that President Jonathan, consented to helping commission the Phase 1 of our reconstructed General Hospital, Ikot Ekpene, which has facilities that are comparable to any such center, anywhere in the world.
“The commissioning of this General Hospital is a fulfilment of a campaign promise I made, to establish world class secondary health care facilities (general hospitals) in all Ten Federal Constituencies in the State.
“With today’s event, we have completed and commissioned to the glory of God, all but one, Ikot Abasi, which work is on-going”, he added.
He further said that his goal is to build a future for a new Akwa Ibom State, where industrialisation, infrastructure, human capital development, healthcare and soft infrastructure will put the state on the spotlight as a reference point on how to utilize the resources available to impact lives and create sustainable growth.
The former President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan in his speech lauded the governor for completely redesigning the hospital as part of measures towards providing adequate health care delivery to Akwa Ibomites.
“I’m glad to be here at this time, It’s good we are partnering with NMA as the commence their health week.
“I commend the Governor for refurbishing this hospital and also the security aspect considering the state of security in the country today, the Covid-19 pandemic has also opened the eyes of people that health should not be taken for granted.
He also commended the leadership of Ikot Ekpene for been committed to the development of the area through their cooperation with the Government to protect these enormous projects.
The Commissioner for Health, Prof Augustine Umoh eulogised Governor Emmanuel for giving priority to the health sector while giving insight to facilities in the hospital.
He listed the components to include the newly constructed storey building administration block, emergency unit, out-patient department, more conducive environment, power infrastructure through provision of a new generator and solar energy machines, male wards, female wards, ultrasound, x-rays, pediatric unit, theatres, motorised beds, manpower of over 30 Doctors and still recruiting more.
In their messages of goodwill, the former Senator representing Ikot-Ekpene Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, and the House of Representatives Member for Ikot Ekpene Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon. Nsikak Ekong and the Chairman of Ikot Ekpene Local Government Council, Hon. Unyime Etim, took turns to eulogise Governor Emmanuel for transforming the once dilapidated hospital to world class standard and for the numerous projects scattered across the Iocal government area.
Hon Nsikak Ekong who recalled his ordeal at the General hospital years back said that when a leader loves his people, the outcome is sustainable development.
” I come from Ikot Ekpene and I know how bad this place was. I remember when my friend had an accident, the emergency unit was bad, if I had left him here, he would have died.
” Thank you for coming to our aid, we will support you till completion, I wish it was possible to do a third term, we would have wanted you to continue.
“When Covid-19 came, the whole country was locked down, most states where erecting tents as isolation centers, but you built a world class isolation center in six weeks.
” Few weeks ago , my aide who dropped me off at the airport was coughing and I asked him, what was wrong and he said he was sick, I told him to run a test and it came out positive, after spending days at a facility in Abuja and with his condition deteriorating, I had him relocated to Akwa Ibom and he was moved to the isolation center at Ituk Mbang and today , Itoro Ekpe is here with me healthy, You have done so much for us”, he said.
Also Speaking the President of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Innocent Ujah expressed excitement over the remodelled medical facility.
“We are here to mark the 2021 NMA Week, we are happy to be part of this process, building and ensuring our people get good medical facilities.
“I’m told that we have refurbished over eight hospital and this is the ninth.
“We appreciate the people of Ikot Ekpene for their support and also the Former President for coming around . We are flagging off our week, and we are happy to be part of this event”, he added
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Patrick Eshiet, described Governor Emmanuel as a visionary leader, who has brought about enormous development and thanked God for the clement weather.
The Ikot Ekpene General Hospital was established in 1905 by the Methodist Church as a Health Post.