Governor pledges to alleviate burden of diseases as WHO concludes annual retreat in Akwa Ibom State.

Uyo, 11 February 2018 - The Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, His Excellency Idom Emmanuel has pledged to continue placing health on the highest pedestal to alleviate the burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases in the state. 
In a meeting with Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu, the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative (WR) to Nigeria, the Governor noted that WHO has expended substantial human and material  resources to “keep the citizenry healthy” across Nigeria. 
The Governor, represented by his deputy, His Excellency Mr Frank Moses Ekpo, further expressed gratitude to the Organization and other Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners for assisting Nigeria to maintain a polio-free status for over 16 months since the last wild poliovirus (WPV) outbreak in Nigeria in August 2016.
In his words, “WHO is spending a lot of resources in disease surveillance and capacity building to strengthen the health system and monitor trends”.
On the request by the WR for early release of the state’s counterpart funding for immunization activities and revamping primary healthcare (PHC), the Deputy Governor expressed the state’s willingness to meet obligations with improved revenue accruable to the state. He solicited WHO’s technical expertise especially in the area of capacity building for health management workforce in line with revitalization of the sector.
The WR and his entourage including the WHO EPI Team Leader and Operations Officer for Nigeria were in Uyo to facilitate a management staff retreat during 7-9 February 2018 to review the WHO 2017 plan of work and define 2018 priorities.
Retreat highlights and setting strategic agenda for 2018-19 biennium
WHO Nigeria management retreat in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State was a rich repertoire of experiences as different programme areas reviewed lessons learnt in 2017 and reflected forward towards improving stewardship/governance in health at all levels and strengthening health systems within the context of PHC as the path to accelerating universal health coverage. 
To set the focus of the retreat, Dr Alemu urged for deliberations that resonate with “the principles encapsulated in the Regional Director’s Transformation Agenda and in alignment with the WHO Director General’s vision of promoting health, protecting people and serving the vulnerable in society”.
Re-organizing WCO for effective support.
At the end of the managerial retreat, the 64 participants drawn from the national, zonal and state levels reached consensus on:  

  • Fine-tuning WHO activities in 2018-2019 for better impact under  UN Joint Working Initiative for enhanced delivery as one UN in Nigeria
  • Developing clear framework with milestones on WHO’s contirbution towards revitilization of PHC  
  • Revitalizing WCO wide resource mobilization strategy and donor mapping to facilitate funding mobilization efforts for 2018-19 priorities
  • Activating internal WHO country presence functional review committee established through the guidance of the WR.
  • Finalizing and disseminating the third generation of the Country Cooperation Strategy CCSlll accountability
  • Ensuring the quality of key performance indicators (KPI) and their dissemination on quarterly basis.

In closing, the WR stressed that performance will be striclty monitored and appropriate administrative actions taken for achieving  WHO’s  core mandate   across both managerial and programmatic areas.

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