Interactive Forum of the Community Development Associations and the Lagos State Government
This morning, I went to school. The people’s school. I attended the interactive forum of the community development associations and the government of Lagos State. From Epe to Egbe-Idimu, Ikoyi to Ikeja, Ikorodu to Badagry, the leaders of our communities came in tens and twenties to engage the government they have put in place. They came to listen to the progress report of what happened in government in the last 30 days. They came to know the plans of the Ambode administration and how the new policies will affect them. They came to give their counsel and to provide the reality as they go through it every day in their nooks and crannies.
Yours sincerely was a witness to this conversation. A conversation that reminds one of the village democracy of the days of yore. A conversation that demonstrates the commitment of the government to inclusive governance.
Dr. Femi Onanuga, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Primary Health Care took the lead. He explained that his office has been monitoring and evaluating the 290 primary health care centres across the state. He revealed how His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Wednesday engaged the officials of the ministry and directed them to bring up their needs to fix the PHCs with the pledge to fund it. He urged the communities to take more interest in the PHCs and assist them to serve the people better.
When it was time for the questions and comments, the towering physician who had served as medical Officer at Mushin LGA and moved on to be a Medical director of general hospitals was visibly impressed that over 20 participants raised their hands.
Their revelations: PHCs abandoned after completion, PHCs in need of drugs, nurses and even doctors. Speaking with specific details, the men asked why their wives seeking to give birth for the first time are not allowed to put to bed at the PHCs. Others wanted to know why the PHCs they raised money to renovate through collaboration with PATH 2 are being left to flounder. Still others asked to be engaged to monitor the PHCs and give the government regular updates.
The Special Adviser was up to the task. He confirmed that first time mothers are not encouraged to put to bed at PHCs because the clinics do not have the medical personnel such as experts in obstretics and gynaecology to handle complications that might arise. Same situation applies to fifth time pregnancy because the uterus might have softened.
Contrary to the impression that the clinics are meant for children and pregnant mothers, Dr. Onanuga said all residents should use the clinics and reduce the pressure on the general hospitals.
He promised to investigate other allegations and rectify them to improve the services at this basic level.
As he departed by saluting them with the call and response slogan, “We”…”Were”, the knowledge sharing that took place was not lost on anybody. Both the government and the people exchanged ideas and information. But the government was the real learner because it would use the raw intelligence to make better people-oriented policies.
There were other agencies on standby to give accounts of their stewardship to the people. The roll call : Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, National Agency Against Trafficking of Persons. Want to know more? Let’s meet here tomorrow.