Senator Utazi wages war against killer diseases, brings joy to Enugu communities

By AdvocateNews on 02/02/2022

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Senator Chuka Utazi
Senator Chuka Utazi

Senate Committee Chairman on Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases, Senator Chukwuka Utazi is waging a tough battle against killer diseases ravaging the society.

Health experts said the passing of the National Health Emergency Bill, sponsored by the lawmaker, by the National Assembly was a political masterstroke that would redefine the nation’s response in the strategic war against pandemic and other emerging global health hazards.

If signed into law, the new legislation named, “Bill for an Act to Provide for an effective national framework for the control of outbreaks of infectious diseases and other events endangering public health and requiring public health emergency measures and for other related matters (SB. 413)” would provide for an effective and efficient legal and administrative machinery to address the challenges posed by public health emergencies as defined under this Act.

It will also ensure a timely response, control and management of public health emergencies.

Presenting the Committee Report, Senator Utazi said the bill would channel available national human and other resources during periods of public health emergencies towards the mitigation or eradication of the infectious diseases and public health events. According to him, it would also streamline all existing rules and regulations for the control of public health during periods of public emergencies for their early containment.

He said part of the objectives of the bill was to maintain appropriate balance between health measures required to be taken by appropriate authorities under any declaration of public health emergency and the constitutionally guaranteed rights of citizens and the general public in the overriding national public health interest.

It would also ensure proper coordination in the administration and management of public health during periods of public health emergencies with necessary checks and balances, accountability and control.

“The Bill will provide an appropriate legal platform for a concerted and effective inter-action among Federal and State Governments during periods of public health emergencies; ensure coordination and organised national responses during periods of public health emergencies with relevant international bodies on disease control to enable Nigeria meet international obligations in the management of public health emergencies; and support the implementation of the International Health Regulations in Nigeria in relation to public health emergencies,” he explained.

Since charity begins at home, the lawmaker also took his intensive health campaign to Enugu North Constituency by distributing truck-loads of medical drugs and hospital equipment worth millions of naira to six health institutions in the area for administration on the sick at subsidized rates.

He said health institutions in localities often suffer from lack of essential drugs and modern facilities to cater for the health needs of the large populace in rural communities. He expressed hope that the items distributed would encourage quality healthcare delivery in the rural areas at an affordable cost.

Speaking at Juconny Hotels Nsukka, where the drugs and hospital equipment were distributed, the lawmaker said the Constituency outreach project was targeted at the grassroots to complement national campaign at attaining universal health coverage by 2030.

He explained that equipping the hospitals with modern facilities and drugs would improve daily services to the people and reduce the high mortality rate from treatable diseases in local communities. The benefitting health institutions include: Bishop Shanahan Hospital, Nsukka, Faith Foundation Hospital, Nsukka, Aru ike Ndi Oya Hospital, Adani, St Mary’s Hospital, Enugu Ezike, Calvary Hospital Opi and St Victor’s Hospital, Opi Agu.

The lawmaker urged the benefitting hospitals to utilise the materials effectively, and ensure improved access to healthcare in the area. He said the items donated, when properly used by the hospitals would subsidize the cost of medical treatment for the people in the area and improve the life expectancy of vulnerable groups in the rural communities.

Representatives of the Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Nsukka, Most Rev Prof Godfrey Igwebike Onah and that of the Anglican Communion, Rt Rev Aloysius Agbo commended the lawmaker and prayed for God’s blessing upon his endeavours.

To prevent outbreak of diseases in communities, the Senator embarked on provision of clean water as one of his constituency projects. He said more than 40 motorised water boreholes were attracted to several communities in Enugu North Senatorial District as part of his constituency projects.

These projects handled by the Anambra Imo River Basin Authority have been completed and commissioned for use, while others are at various stages of completion. The benefitting communities include: Ezi Ukehe, Ohodo, Umunko, Uvuru, Anuka, Ugbene Ajima, Iheaka, Enugu-Ezike, Ezimo, Obollo-Eke, Nguru, Abuibeyi, Unadu, Inyi, among others.

In Opi Community, the commissioning of a motorised water borehole project , with a 15KVA generating set brought huge relief to the people, who had suffered water scarcity for decades. Residents in the area were seen in large numbers fetching water for their use, when this reporter visited the area recently.
A resident, Mrs Joy Ugwueze, said the provision of water in the area has reduced the challenge of going far distances to fetch water for domestic use. She explained that Nsukka community usually suffer scarcity of water during dry season because seasonal ponds and rivers that serve rural communities dry up. She thanked the lawmaker for bringing relief to their distress, noting that women and children no longer wander the community with wheelbarrows in search of water. .

In Nkpologu Community, Senator Utazi also commissioned a water-borehole with a big overhead tank, as part of his zonal intervention constituency projects.

He said the borehole, which has 15KVA generating set, 750 depth and 7.5 horse-powered sumo, would yield water at all seasons for the people of Akibite and others.

He expressed optimism that the modern borehole would reduce incidence of water-borne diseases afflicting rural communities.

The lawmaker also commissioned another water borehole at St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, Nsukka for the benefit of people living within the area.

With these interventions, hopes are high that the year-long suffering of water scarcity in many parts of Nsukka and its adverse health implications on the populace would soon become a thing of the past.

Posted 02/02/2022 07:27:57 AM


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