Date Published: 11/15/09
Constituency Fund, the Constituents & their Benefactor By Edward Wabundani
Nigeria’s commitment to attaining good healthcare services is conspicuously enunciated in the country’s National Health Policy. The policy is predicated on the national philosophy of social Justice and equity among the three tiers of government. Taking into cognizance the enormity of the task expected from these organs, the immediate past administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, made it a concurrent responsibility, saddling all the three tiers of government with specific tasks to provide the requisite financial muscle and good health care to the citizenry.
Under it, the Federal Government is responsible for policy formulation, strategic guidance, coordination, supervision, monitoring and evaluation as wall as disease surveillance among others. The states and LG’s share responsibility for healthcare, while states principally operate secondary health facilities such as general hospitals, comprehensive health centres, providing mostly secondary care and serving as referral level. The Local Governments on their part, provide the essential elements of primary health services. It is against this background that, considerable sums of money have been invested especially since 1999 to date, among the three tiers, aimed to provide improved health services. But yet, the country still features prominently in the Human Development index, among other indicators of countries with poor health care delivery system.
The consequence of all these, is the imminence of low life expectancy, high maternal and infant mortality rate, high incidents of curable diseases such as the recent cholera outbreak in some parts of the North East geo-political Zone of Nigeria, which claimed over 1,000 lives so far in the zone.
Although several factors have been identified as responsible for the devastation of people by the scourge in the villages, the overall availability, accessibility, quality and utilization of health services are believed to have been decreased significantly at this level. The mere existence of physical health facilities does not mean that they function. Majority of health centres are poorly equipped with virtually no essential supply of drugs. This is exemplified in the coverage of critical PHC interventions such as immunization, access to safe drinking water and sanitation. All these have drastically declined, especially between 1999 to date across the country.
However succour recently came through one of Nigeria’s hardworking female Senators, Grace Folashade Bent. In line with her constitutional legislative duties and or oversight functions to develop her constituency, she judiciously attempted to play her role. as expected. In the last 12 calendar months, she had devoted her time, energy and resources purposely to put smile on the faces of her constituents from the Adamawa South senatorial Zone in particular.
Conscious of her legislative duties within the period under review, distinguished Senator Grace Bent, sunken 30 boreholes estimated to cost not less than N40 Million Naira in 9 LGA’s encompassing her senatorial zone.
In a bid to improve the primary healthcare and immunization status of her constituents, the Senator constructed 5 new clinics and rehabilited 10 existing ones. Infact I’m personally stunned by her attainments most especially that she is the only woman among several men in the NASS from the State. As if that is not all, recently i had cause to visit a friend in Ganye, where I came across one of her footprints at the General Hospital, where she installed a scanning machine. Moving away the health clinics from mere consulting centres, the indefatigable woman of exceptional character expended over N20 Million in purchasing assorted drugs for some clinics in the zone.
This woman is an enigma. She is a magician of sorts. No doubt, she has technically forced especially her peers in the National Assembly to watch, listen and even follow her exemplary leadership qualities with envy.
Gradually, Senator Grace Folashade Bent, can maneuver through an avalanche of rockets and canon fires with scintillating acrobatics and land her big bird on the runway safely. Her desire to mitigate child mortality and enhance maternal health of her electorate, also spurred her to assist some of them with financial backing to boost their investments. On education, the distinguished Senator procured and distributed some educational materials worth over N10 Million across the existing primary and secondary schools in the senatorial zone.
I’m really scared by her simplicity, decency and above all, her intimidating record of achievements, which to a large extent have made her a golden fish among her colleagues. She does not seem to have any hiding place when it comes to delivering dividends of democracy. Her qualitative arguments on the floor of the red chambers of the NASS and as Chairman Senate Committee on Environment are superlative.
Using Winston Churchills remark far back in history, if you want a mountain moved, Senator Grace Bent is the kind of lady one will first talk to. She has courage and she so much understands human and especially political psychology that she can, without failing always galvanise support, goodwill and understanding not only from her constituency but from majority of the people. The female senator, who hails from the South Western part of the country, now sharing her lifetime with an Adamawan, remains a centre of attraction with great reliable and dependable political skills.
Edward Wabundani is based in Abuja and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org