SOML-PforR National Program Manager, DR. Ibrahim Kana, and South East Zonal Coordinator, Jibrin Suleiman, attended the 2019 Imo State Ministry of Health, in conjunction with Saving One Million Lives- Program for Results, two day stakeholders retreat at Transtel Hotel and Suites. The retreat was attended by the Honorable Commissioners for Health, Budget & Planning, and Finance, Senior Special Adviser to the governor on health services, Permanent Secretary MOH, Heads of Agencies, officials from State MOH & State Program Manager, SOML-PforR, Marie Stoppes, WHO. 

The Honorable Commissioner for Health, Dr. Vin Udokwu, commenced the retreat by welcoming and informing all in attendance on the significance of this retreat. He stated, “This retreat couldn’t have come at a better time as Imo state is rebuilding its health care sector. This is an opportunity for relevant stakeholders to come together and review our health program.”    

Subsequent to Dr. Udokwu’s welcome remarks, SSA on health services to the Governor, Estelle Mbadiwe, encouraged participants to have a very open discussion about the challenges in Imo State’s health sector and provide solutions on how to move forward. She acknowledged Imo state has the highest literacy rate in the southeast, 98.1%, yet has the worst infant mortality rate in the zone. She concluded by adding, “Last year, Yobe state made 29 million USD from this program and we only made 600k. Imolites, we can do a lot better.”

Dr. Kana delivered a compelling presentation on the essence of Saving One Million Lives-Program for Result. He highlighted that SOML-PforR differs from any other government program existing in Nigeria because it only rewards states based on performance driven outputs. This significant factor has allowed states to determine their own fate, including Imo. The attendees were reminded of the state’s performance history, but also encouraged about their future under this program. In the presentation they were urged to focus on data, conduct bottle neck analyses, and create a steering committee with key role players of health in the state. 

Dr. Jibrin Suleiman further drove the message on results with a presentation that encouraged all attendees to share their experiences with one another and continue to stay focused on producing results. He emphasized, “This is not about pointing fingers and we’re not the police.”

The state retreat is a concept designed by the National Program Management Unit to serve as means of creating awareness on the Program while staying focused on results. 

Following the retreat, the SOML-PforR team had the opportunity to visit His Excellency, Emeka Ihedioha, where he openly welcomed the team to his home. Dr. Kana briefly explained the program and HE was extremely receptive asking, “What can Imo do to come out on top?” Governor Ihedioha expressed an interest in health, but noted, currently, it is a challenge for the state. Even though Imo state’s GDP is number 5 in the country, they are not offering free healthcare to children 5 and under. HE stated he wanted to change that. 

The Saving One Million Lives- Program for Results team was overwhelmingly pleased with the Governor’s outlook and insights on the future of health in Imo State. We look forward to seeing the state excel in the future. 

“Imo will rise again!” 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.