The Rivers State Government has said it spent about N100 billion on healthcare, including infrastructure and capacity building since Governor Chibuike Amaechi came into office in 2007.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Sampson Parker, disclosed this, at the weekend, at an event organised at the Braithwaite Memorial Hospital (BMH), Port Harcourt to appreciate ophthalmologists (eye specialists) from US-based Hospitals for Humanity, who performed successful surgeries with eyesight restored to about 200 glaucoma and cataract patients in collaboration with the state government at the weekend.
He disclosed that Amaechi had released almost N100 billion into the health care delivery system in the state, describing him as having a very kind heart for the people of the state
While thanking the organisation for successfully performing corrective eye surgeries on the victims, including an 18-year-old girl, who had been partially blind for 12 years, he described the exercise as unprecedented, saying "God gave Amaechi a kind heart to do what he is doing."
Parker said further: "I have been a doctor in this system for years before becoming a commissioner; I don't think it has been this good for this ministry (Health) than what Amaechi is doing in the state.
"Before we came here, we were having a chat and we were looking at how much has been expended in healthcare and we realised that almost a N100 billion has gone into the ministry of health.
"We (Rivers) have built about 150 primary health care centres, fully equipped with staff. Also, we have employed over 400 doctors and given them incentives to enable them work harder and employed qualified nurses to assist the doctors.
"We have reinstituted training and retraining and today our wish is to make BMH a specialist's hospital as the name implies, to become a teaching hospital that will teach young doctors and other health professionals. That is how much the governor (Amaechi) has put into the ministry of health.
"Some of us have been praying for an opportunity to have our sights back and God heard our prayers and touched Amaechi and the charity doctors. The result is what we are witnessing today."
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The health commissioner said that the Amaechi administration would continue to pursue health programmes that would provide quality free healthcare for the people, adding that the governor had also approved a specialist manpower development programme for take-off.
He thanked the medical team from Hospitals for Humanity for their collaboration and effort in treating glaucoma and cataract eye patients.
In his remark, the Founder, Hospitals for Humanity, Dr. Segun Ajayi, who led a team of eye experts from the US, said the organisation would return to the state so that more people could benefit from the programme, saying the Rivers State Government had assured the team of its continued collaboration.
Ajayi further said the programme also achieved capacity upgrade for doctors at the state-owned BMH, saying some of them (doctors) were billed to follow his team of experts to the US for further training.
The beneficiaries, particularly those who underwent complex surgeries expressed gratitude to the state government and the team from the Hospitals for Humanity for saving them from blindness.
The ophthalmologists from Hospitals for Humanity were in Rivers State on partnership with the Amaechi administration to treat glaucoma and cataract eye patients.