Worried about the prevalence of fake and substandard drugs in Imo State and other parts of the country, Governor Hope Uzodimma has reached out to a team of medical experts in Austria on how they can assist in the supply of original drugs to Imo State.
The Governor has therefore requested from a 34-man Medical Team from Austria who visited him at the weekend in Government House Owerri to think seriously about entering into an agreement with the Imo State government on how to realise the request.
Governor Uzodimma is worried about the danger that fake and substandard drugs that are being consumed by patients is causing to the health of the people, saying he will stop at nothing to check it.
He then told the visiting Austrian doctors to bring up a draft of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Imo State Government on drug supply and Pharmaceuticals so that Imo people will have the leisure of accessing genuine drugs from designated points as patients.
The 34-man Medical Team from Austria were in Nigeria and Imo State in particular for the 23rd year Annual Free Medical Mission under the auspices of Emekaroha Royal Dynasty Foundation and were received at the New Exco Chambers, Government House, Owerri on Saturday, February 4, 2023.
Governor Uzodimma expressed delight in receiving the medical experts and told them that his proposal is “predicated on the fact that a lot of fake and substandard drugs have come into Nigeria and its effect on our people is devastating.”
He requested the team to draw a Memorandum of Understanding for Drug Supply between Imo State and Austria and assured that his administration will be ready to pay if the need arises.
The Governor emphasized that “Imo State is in dare need of a pharmaceutical warehouse or drug manufacturing factories that will guarantee a central drug store where the State can receive quality, genuine, drugs that will be distributed to our hospitals in Imo State.”
Emphasising the seriousness of his request, the Governor said he would not mind a situation where the medical experts could link the Government to drug manufacturing companies in Austria by way of “Government to Government or Company to Company arrangement so that the overall life expectancy of Imo citizens will improve based in genuine drugs and proper prescriptions.”
Governor Uzodimma also made another request: that the team considers visiting Imo State twice a year instead of once in a year.
He said if the team visits twice a year, it will help to expand their scope of coverage, “not only working in one Local Government of Ihitte Uboma in Okigwe zone, but to include Owerri zone and Orlu zone,” promising that Government will “support them to ensure Imo people receive the best of healthcare.”
The Governor had earlier expressed delight that despite all challenges the team has been consistent in its visit to the State since 1999 and said hosting them and giving them the necessary assistance for the medical outreach “is the State’s contributions towards providing good healthcare to Imo people.”
He reminded them that their several visits have “given, saved and prolonged so many lives in Imo State since the inception of the programme” and expressed gratitude of the State over their contributions.
Noting that the doctors have been coming to support the State in the area of humanitarian services, he thanked Rev. Fr. Emeka Emekaroha for working with the team to contribute to the development of Imo State.
He promised that Government will continue to cooperate with them in the areas of security and logistics and pleaded with them to come back again and again and never to hesitate in bringing up their challenges whenever they are faced with one “because government will be ready to always intervene to encourage you.”
Briefing the Governor on their mission, the leader of the team, Rev. Fr. Emeakaroha said that they have been coming on annual Free Medical Mission in Imo State since 1999 and since then, have been able to provide a lot of critical Medicare and established some Medical Institutions such as the Madonna Austrian Hospital Ihitte Uboma.
He said the team has been able to provide surgical operations, eye surgeries, pediatric surgery, and in 2021, offered 1,000 wheelbarrows to encourage farming in Imo State and 240 wheel chairs to help special citizens in Imo State.
He said in this 2023 mission, a total of 228 surgical operations were successfully carried out by the team within two weeks of stay.
He requested from the Imo State government, the provision of security, vehicles, logistics, clearing of this imported equipment, drugs, computer sets, electric operating plants etc, to make their work more effective.
Some of the medical experts who spoke expressed delight in coming to contribute their quota for humanity and thanked the Governor for his warm reception.
Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to the Governor