Dr. Precious Gbeneol: Breaking the Circle of Poverty through MDG

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It was at a pre-launch Press Conference on the Conditional Grants Scheme (CGS) in December 2011, that Dr. Precious Gbeneol was officially introduced to the Press as the new Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Before her appointment to the position of SSA to the President on MDGs in September, 2011, Dr. Gbeneol was Secretary of Health in the FCT Administration. The Economic Confidential gathered that she was appointed to the position because of her passion for the fight against poverty, as well as equity and justice for women.

At the Press Conference she disclosed that that President Goodluck Jonathan would symbolically hand out N22.6 billion to 113 Local Government Areas which was performed the following day. She later told the Economic Confidential that each of the councils would receive N200 million and more than 25 million people were expected to benefit from the initiative. She also disclosed that within three months of her assumption of office, she has approved the distribution of over six million mosquito nets across the country.

She told the Economic Confidential magazine that the CGS initiative would continue to be profitable to people especially for construction and rehabilitation of primary healthcare centres, health training institutions, capacity building programmes for skills/agricultural extension, provision of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets and solar-powered street lights and motorized hand pumps and boreholes.

So far her initiatives have received accolades including a commendation from visiting Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on Poverty Reduction, Jeffery Sachs who this year told President Goodluck Jonathan that the MDG effort is one of the most innovative schemes of using national resources for local government development.

Born on the 28th August, 1966, to the family of Sampson Sekidika from Walga Local Government Area of Rivers state, she had her Primary and Secondary Education in Rivers State and was admitted to the University of Port- Harcourt to study Medicine in 1984. She decided to complete a BSC in Pharmacology 1988 before proceeding to complete her medical degree in 1991. She did her housemanship at the University of Port-Harcourt Teaching hospital from 1991-1992.

Dr. Precious Kalamba Gbeneol did her compulsory National Youth Service at Ringim Local Government Area of Jigawa State, North-East Nigeria between 1992-1993. She worked with the Jigawa State Government as a Medical Officer from 1993-1994, worked with Ministry of health, Kaduna State from 1994-2000, from where she resigned as Senior Medical Officer. She enrolled for her Post Graduate Residency Training at the University of Port-Harcourt teaching Hospital in 2001 and completed her Post Graduate Training in 2007 in the same institution, where she received the Fellowship of West African College of Physicians and Fellowship of National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria.

Dr. (Mrs.) Gbeneol worked as a Consultant Family Physician at River State University of Education, Health Services Department where she rose to be Deputy Director, Medical Services, from where she was appointed Secretary of Health, Federal Capital Territory in 2009-2011. She holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of Liverpool in 2011. She also had Leadership Training Course for Chief Executive Officers from the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston in 2011.

For her outstanding performances, she had received several awards including Letter of Commendation by FCT Administration on Outstanding Procurement Performance of 2010 Budget year; Merit Award for outstanding Free Paper Presentation during the 18th WONCA World Conference, 2007; and Meritorious Award by Association of Resident Doctors, 2002 among others.

She also has some publications to her credit including “The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence,” presented at the 18th WONCA World Conference; Genomics and Family Medicine; Fever of Unknown Origin in Infants with an Unexpected Blood film Report; A case report.

Dr. Precious is married to Dr. Tombari Joseph Gbeneol, a Fellow of the West African College of Surgeons and a Consultant, Plastic and Reconstruction Surgeon at the University of Post-Harcourt Teaching Hospital, and her marriage is blessed with children. She is a devoted Christian. Her hobbies include travelling, watching Films and Cooking.

MDGs as conceived in 2000 by the United Nations, ratified and domesticated by the Nigerian government are entirely pro-poor courses of action. The eight broad MDGs were conceived to address extreme poverty and hunger, illiteracy, women empowerment and gender equality, child and maternal health issues, environmental sustainability, HIV, malaria and challenges from other diseases, as well as the building of global partnership for development. Through MDGs, governments in developing countries are challenged to meet the primary needs of their people. Concentrating any course of action, directed at uplifting the poor mass of the people in the rural areas as Dr. Gbeneol has elected to do by opting to leveraging the CGS, is therefore, supremely commendable.

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