John Knowtes, a renowned American author once wrote that, “Everyone has a moment in history which belongs particularly to him; it is the moment when his emotions achieve their most powerful sway over him, as he makes the most definite impact on the society”.
For Dr Andy Akpotive, the authorship of his bestseller titled “Unveiled-How to run a Profitable Hospital Business in Nigeria”, is a dream come true and a rare feat that defines his passion towards promoting excellence in the Nigerian medical sector.
The young entrepreneur and advocate of principles in the practice of medicine who spoke with The Tide in an exclusive interview in Port Harcourt, recently, said the stunted growth of the Nigerian medical sector was mostly as a result of lack of proper diagnosis of the structural deficiencies and operations of the sector. For this reason he said, most Nigerian doctors and medical practitioners have opted to seek professional solace elsewhere, while Nigerians now earn a negative reputation of seeking medical attention beyond the shores of the country.
According to Dr Akportive, the unbridled drive towards medical tourism outside Nigeria, without addressing the prevalent challenges in the country’s health sector, was a disturbing phenomenon that required urgent attention.
Akportive who is also a public Affairs analyst and social reformer, identified the deficiencies of insight in leadership as being grossly responsible for institutional failure in Nigeria, and called on the government to invest meaningfully in the health sector.
“The leadership of this country is yet to fathom the reality and responsibilities of governance. It is regrettable that Nigerian doctors perform exceedingly well abroad, but at home they lack the incentives to discharge their professional duties optimally. There is need for proper diagnosis of the challenges in the health sector, and other sectors of the economy, the economic expansion needed for stable employment and promotion of excellence in service delivery can only be attained, when our institutions are functional”.
Asked what motivated him to write the book, Akpotive said: “My passion for the health sector has led me to write a robust piece that will speak to the Nigerian peculiarities, while catering to the challenging questions and realities of health care administrators, medical and allied medical students, workers and investors, helping them to achieve efficiency of training and care for the patients”.
The seasoned health care administrator, who described the book as a compendium of practical ideas, explained that the work provides solutions for effective strategies in management and operations in health care services, especially in leadership, machinery, merchandise and general information.
As such, he said this work serves as in antidote to the erroneous assumption in third world countries, that success in business was a violation of moral principles, noting that the desired free enterprise system can only strive on robust businesses acumen.
Like the great philosopher Alfred Whitehead, Dr Akpotive believes that “Style is the ultimate morality of the mind”, implying that there must be constant redifinition of goals in every sector to put the country on a strong pedestal of economic growth.
With no self serving intentions of touting his laurels or achievements, Dr Akpotive said the efforts he devoted in writing the book was worth it, as he was convinced that the work, if put into judicious use, will help in checking the foul-ups and culpable failures that have stunted the development of the Nigeria medical sector.
On how the book relate to the very personality of the author, Dr Akpotive said, “I am a man with a knack for excellence and deep commitment in all my engagements, the work is a product of deep research and offshoot of over 14 years experience in administering small, medium and large scale hospitals in Nigeria, helping them to attain set milestones and targets. The work contains over 209 ways to defect fraud in hospitals and there controls, exceptional customer service in hospitals, kinds of patients in the hospital and how to deal with them”.
Akpotive also added that the lucidity of the work was beyond its aesthetic cover, but a factual presentation of creative ideas delivered in adroit professional prowess and rendition for easy digestion. Speaking on the relationship between the academic institutions and medical practice, he called for a stronger synergy to enhance research and effective service delivery.
“One of the major challenges in the Nigerian health sector is the lack of research development. There should be stronger synergy between the academic and the industry, “we have professors who are not committed to research, such docility on the part of scholars is inimical to research development, medical practice is dynamic and cannot thrive on old inefficiencies. Both medical scholars and practitioners should be encouraged to engage in research to promote excellence”.
The author was also deeply concerned about the decline in reading culture in the society. According to him the absence of a virile reading culture was the sign of a degenerating society. To get Nigerians reading again, he canvassed for a total re-ordering of the Nigerian educational system, where the leaders will embrace the culture of reading and knowledge acquisition to function effectively in the art of governance. He also admonished parents to embrace the reading culture and communicate knowledge to their children.
“The absence of an effective reading culture and dearth of intellectualism is also at the root of Nigeria’s development crisis. Nigerians are overwhelmed by their physiological needs and do not have time to read or seek knowledge. We also have a leadership’s structure that detests knowledge; these are ominous signs for our development as a nation. Any society that does not promote knowledge gropes in the dark and becomes the butt of sadistic jokes of other promising societies”.
He further averred that, commitment to a knowledge driven economy in Nigeria will help in liberating the people from the shackles of ignorance and the glorification of mediocrity. The activist also called for the review of the school curriculum to promoting the reading culture and advocated for the encouragement of authors to enhance the frontiers of knowledge.
It is regrettable that in Nigeria, authors and readers are not given any accolades or incentives to promote their works. Rather beauty pageantry and Big brother shows are promoted at the expense of scholarly works, through bogus and mouthwatering incentives”.
“The government and other related institutions should organise quiz competitions and encourage readers and authors through incentives”, Dr Akpotive, also took a swipe at the federal government over its tendency to gauge popular opinion as demonstrated recently in the African Independent Television (AIT), Federal Government debacle. He pointed out that it was totally wrong for government to gauge press freedom or douse plurality of opinions in a democracy.
He said the deliberate effort of a government to stop dissenting voices, in democracy without seeking constitutional measures to address contentious issues was the shortest route to despotism. He added that the beauty of a democracy was for critical stakeholders to appraise the government to enhance checks and balances in the art of governance.
“Any government that only basks in praises and commendations, and views criticism with a sense of disdain is not worthy of its name. There must be room for checks and balances to curtail the excesses of the wielders of power. It is not only fundamental but a moral right for people to air their critical views, but there is also limit to freedom of speech which is enshrined in the constitution and should be treated within the ambit of the law”.
Akpotive also sent a strong message to the youthful generation on how to pick up the gauntlet and play active roles in the leadership of the country. According to him, the only way for the youth to have a strong footing in leadership was to embrace education and liberate themselves from the allure of political slavery.
“The youth constitute the active population in Nigeria, but their role in leadership is passive, they operate at the beck and call of their political slave drivers who are not ready to relinquish power voluntarily to them, but always want the youth to be engage in unsavoury duties.
Dr Akpotive also has deep admiration for the leadership style of the Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, especially in his passion to develop Rivers State.
In a widely publicized broadcast message at his instance recently, he appealed to all power brokers in the state to yield to the dictates of nature and support the governor to continue to dispense quality leadership in the state. He holds a strong opinion that governance is a fundamental obligation that goes beyond mere partisan considerations, and should be accorded the deepest sense of regards.
Wike Wants Stakeholders To Implement Neonatal Deaths Plan
Wife of the Rivers State Governor, Justice Suzette Nyesom Wike, has charged stakeholders to ensure that the Rivers State Every Newborn Action Plan (RIENAP) is implemented as planned.
Giving the charge, Monday, at the launch of the RIENAP and her investiture as the State’s “ Newborn Champion” at the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) House, Port Harcourt, the state’s First Lady said the plan must not end up on the table.
“Let this not be another document that will not be implemented. Let it not sit on your table and gather dust. There must be a concerted effort to ensure its implementation”, she said.
Represented by Barr. Inime Aguma at the occasion, the Governor’s wife tasked the stakeholders particularly the state Ministry of Health to come up with a monitoring and evaluation mechanism to ensure implementation of the plan.
“You must set up something that will monitor them to ensure that they do what they ought to do at that level, because in Port Harcourt metropolis we have so many hospitals, we have private clinics, government hospitals and people have access to better health care.
“But at the local level, it’s a huge problem, and I’m sure that most of the threat occur at that level”, she noted.
Justice Wike, however assured her commitment towards the implementation of the plan, saying that whatever is required of her to give to enhance the smooth implementation of the plan, she will make available at all times.
Earlier in her speech, the Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Health, Mrs Caroline Wali had given a brief statistics of neonatal deaths in identified years globally, Nigeria, and Rivers State.
“In Rivers State, the prevalence of neonatal death was 27 deaths for every 1000 births, and still birth rate of 42.9 deaths for every 1000 births (multi-indicator), cluster survey 2016 – 17)”, she said.
Consequently, she continued , “without a push to end this deaths, we will not reach the goal endorsed by 193 countries to end all preventable newborn deaths by 2030!
In his goodwill message, the Health Specialist, UNICEF, Rivers Field Office, Port Harcourt, Dr Eghe Abe, explained that UNICEF decision to be involved in checking neonatal deaths in Rivers State and Nigeria is borne out of its commitment to check newborn deaths.
According to him, “the under 5 mortality has continued to reduce, the rate of increase of newborn deaths has somewhat. Therefore, for the state and country to achieve the SDGs, it needs to do things differently if the neonatal mortality rate is to reduce.
“It is in the light of this that UNICEF whole, heartedly supported the development of this plan. If the plan is fully implemented, it is believed that every newborn would not only survive, but would thrive and develop to its full potentials”, he said.
Dr Abe assured that “UNICEF will continue to support the Rivers State government with technical and financial assistance towards strengthened coordination of the heath sector, data generation for evidence and development, and use of frameworks for accelerating actions for impact to achieve results for women and children especially the newborn”.
Also speaking, the Director, Child Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Bose Adeniran, said since the decision to commence the Newborn Action Plan in Nigeria was reached, Rivers State is the first to come up with US Plan among the 36 states of the federation.
The RIENAP is a plan to end preventable newborn deaths in Rivers State.
RSG Begins Second Dose Measles Immunization, ’Morrow
The Rivers State Government, through the State Ministry of Health will tomorrow commence administering of second dose of immunization against Measles in addition to the routine immunisation schedule.
Making this known to newsmen recently, the State Immunisation Officer, Dr Inwom Joseph Urang, said the target is “to vaccinate every child from 9 to 23 months old”, which, he said, may also include children who had not taken the first immunisation.
“Every child is to be protected against measles. Along the line, we might see some children that had never been vaccinated with even the first dose. We still have to vaccinate them”, he said.
Towards achieving the objective of immunizing all the children within the age limit, Dr Urang said strategies have also been mapped out to take care of the hard-to-reach areas of the state, such as the riverine areas.
For the riverine areas, he said, “we need to do what we call a combing activity. We go through the whole of that area and ensure that every children is vaccinated.
He explained further that such hard-to-reach areas cannot be reached regularly, preparations are made to also immunize children in those areas against other ailments.
According to him, children will be immunized, “not just for measles. We use all antigens available, so that the children in those areas are fully protected, knowing we won’t go there often … logistics are being provided for all of that”.
Dr Urang continued that for such areas, indigenous health workers will be used because they are familiar with the terrain.
Buhari Hails 2018 DHS Survey Report
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday lauded the 2018 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) carried out by National Population Commission (NPC), saying “the study is comprehensive for formulation of national policies.”
The President made this known at the official launch of 2018 NDHS in Abuja on Tuesday.
Represented by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, Buhari said that the report of the survey was an improvement over previous surveys conducted in the country, adding that it was necessary for advancement of the country’s wellbeing.
According to him, the survey is conducted every five years.
Our correspondent reports that the 2018 NDHS is the sixth of its kind to be conducted in the country since 1990, designed to provide data for monitoring the population and health situations in the nation.
It was conducted by NPC in collaboration with National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) of Federal Ministry of Health, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Global Fund, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNFPA and WHO.
The survey, which fieldwork commenced on Aug. 15 till Dec. 23, 2018, is also to provide up-to-date demographic and health indicators for Nigeria, its geographical zones and individual states.
The survey collected information on fertility awareness and use of family planning methods, nutritional status of women and children, maternal and child health, adult and childhood mortality, women empowerment, female genital cutting, among others.
Mrs Bimbola Salu-Hundeyin, the acting Chairman of NPC, explained that “a total of 41,821 women between 15 and 49 years and
13,311 men between 15 and 59 years were interviewed in 40,425 households, representing a response rate of 99 per cent of women and 99 per cent of men.”
The NPC boss said that two per cent of women and two per cent of men aged 15 years and above had difficulty or could not function in at least one domain of disability such as seeing, hearing, remembering.
Salu-Hundeyin noted that nine per cent of women and 10 per cent of men had some difficulty in at least one domain.
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