After 70 Years, Bakassi Community Gets Health Centre

70 years after its establishment, the Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State has officially inaugurated a health centre in the Ine Abasi community. The Ine Abasi community is one of the communities in Bakassi LGA that has suffered neglect due to inadequate infrastructure. The hard-to-find community is located approximately 20 minutes away from Ikang community road. It is a fishing settlement located on the banks of the sea that is connected with Cameroon. Being made up mostly of fishermen and traders, the Ine Abasi community has a population of over 5,000.

While inaugurating the first health centre in the community, Chief Iyadim Amboni Iyadim, the Bakassi LGA chairman, said that the project had been in line with the council’s efforts to ensure that universal health coverage gets to all nooks and crannies of the country that need medical attention.

“This project is also a fulfillment of a promise I made last year when I visited this hard-to-reach community. When fully operational, the health facility will help eliminate the out-of-pocket expenditure that makes access to quality and affordable healthcare services inequitable, mostly among vulnerable pregnant women and children under five years. The health centre will be equipped with modern medical facilities and will also help reduce infant and maternal mortality rate in the rural area. It is in tandem with the vision of the health care development programme of the state government, which aims at taking healthcare to rural dwellers.”

He promised that the centre would be completed in record time and become fully operational before he leaves office, just as it would serve all Nigerians resident in that part of Bakassi.

Dr. Janet Ekpenyong, the director-general of the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, remarked and commended the council chairman for embarking on such a life-saving project, promising to collaborate with the local government to ensure affordable and accessible healthcare service is accessible in the area.

Dr. Ekpenyong called on residents of the area “to rally around the chairman for exhibiting good leadership qualities by bringing dividends of democracy to you.” She entreated them to “see the health centre as their project and therefore, guard it jealousy as the state government will upon completion deploy health workers there.” On the need to stay safe following the recent outbreak of cholera in the area, the DG advised them to religiously observe good hygiene procedures by always boiling their water before drinking to prevent all forms of disease.

A female leader in the Ine Abasi community named Eka Affiong Ekpenyong, commended the government for remembering them at such a crucial moment, as it would help them in checking their health status, especially the pregnant women who need constant medical checkups. “I must confess, we need this health facility more than the men because we are the weaker sex and would help us from constantly entering boat to Ikang or Calabar in case of emergency.”

Another resident, a fisherman who gave his name simply as Ekong, said that with the health centre, they can now access some drugs and medical advice to stay healthy and go about their fishing business.