The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on Monday inaugurated the ultra-modern Lassa Fever Virology Centre constructed by the Ebonyi Government at the cost of N350 million.
Inaugurating the project situated at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (FETHA) premises, Adewole said that the Federal Government would partner with Ebonyi to deliver adequate healthcare to the people.
“The Federal Government will inaugurate six virology centres across the country to check the disease, as the 2015 outbreak was the most disastrous in the country’s history.
“The mortality rate was about 60 per cent which implied that for every 10 cases, six fatalities were recorded due to late diagnosis.
“This centre will be designated as the South East Virology Centre to cater for patients battling with the disease in the zone and beyond.
“The Federal Government will not grant the state government’s request for refunds on the project but will assist it in ensuring that the centre is viable.”
The minister further said that the government had completed arrangements to implement the Universal Health Coverage Programme for overall healthcare delivery to Nigerians.
“The state governor should be commended for his commitment in inaugurating the centre; he is a shining example of a provider of adequate healthcare delivery in the country.”
The minister also inaugurated the Ebonyi Health Insurance scheme, reiterating the Federal Government’s resolve to partner with states that had shown commitment to improve healthcare delivery.
In his remark, Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi said that the government watched helplessly while its people died of the Lassa Fever disease in 2015 and decided to salvage the situation.
“The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of this hospital informed me that he had sought the construction of the centre for over 10 years and this motivated us into action.
“We want refunds for the construction and equipping the centre and if this is not granted, we will charge fees for treatment of patients coming from other parts of the country,” he said.
On the Health Insurance Scheme, Umahi said that the state government had earmarked N1 billion for the smooth commencement of the programme.
“This programme will involve saving the lives of over three million citizens of the state; the 13 general and six mission hospitals in the state will be strengthened to actualise this goal.
“We have submitted the State Health Insurance Scheme bill to our State House of Assembly and are expecting its expeditious passage into law,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the minister inspected facilities at the centre which include six ambulances for conveyance of patients and he also inaugurated a 21-man committee for the successful implementation of the State Health Insurance Scheme.