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Taraba state Governor, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku says Taraba state remains the most peaceful in the Northeast region of the country despite the activities of insurgents.

Governor Darius Ishaku said this yesterday during the opening ceremony of the National Medical Association Games holding at the Jolly Nyame Stadium Jalingo.

Darius Ishaku described the gathering as a unique assemblage of medical professionals who are in Jalingo to showcase their God’s given talents in the fields of sports and prayed for it to be sustained, suggesting that it should be expanded to include more games.

He maintained that the medical professionals are often portrayed as busy people saving lives and stated that this is an opportunity for them to unwind with their colleagues from the different geographical location of the country.

The Governor said it is, therefore, a good thing now that the Doctors are leading by example, pointing out that it would be easier for their patients to key into the regular exercises usually suggested by medical practitioners.

Darius Ishaku used the opportunity to enumerate some of his contributions in the health sector as captured in his Rescue Agenda, with priority to the renovations and the upgrading of some Health facilities across the state, provision of drugs and other hospital consumables and addressing the workforce shortage in the sector.

He further revealed that his administration is poised to improve on the existing sports facilities in and outside the stadium, disclosed that effort is being made to put a nine hole Golf Course in the state, describing Taraba state as welcoming and accommodating.

In his speech, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole indicated that sports and medicine are interrelated and inseparable, pointing out that the role of sports in medicine is evident, stressing that it is part of the message that is often preached to patients.

Represented by the Chief Medical Director of Federal Medical Center Jalingo, Dr. Inuwa Wiza, he disclosed that sports are crucial to our mental, physical and psychological well-being which was traced to the Hippocratic times.

Dr.Wiza lamented that the changing pattern of diseases is as a result of our changing lifestyles and stressed the urgent need to bring sports to the forefront.

He attributed obesity to the heavy consumption of refined food which has devastating consequences and often results in Diabetes, Hypertension, cardiac diseases and cancer, which has huge financial implication and said consistent exercises is the only way out.

Dr. Wiza maintained that Doctors in sports is a powerful way to convey the importance of exercise to the general public.

Conveying the Minister’s message on the grievances on their working condition, he stated that, efforts are being made to give all Doctors a new lease of life and job satisfaction to end the incessant strike and squabbles between Doctors and Government to ensure smooth delivery of health services across the country.

He also revealed that a new page of dialogue has been opened, which would be centred on tolerance, respect and discipline among Doctors and Government.

On his part, the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Innocent Vakkai saluted the organisers of NMA games for the choice of Jalingo the Taraba state to host the 3rd edition of the NMA yearly games, positing that, their choice was a good one, considering the beautiful and peaceful nature coupled with excellent sporting facilities available in the ultra modern stadium.

Dr. Innocent Vakkai said exercise and leisure are vital to healthy life, saying that, the medical Doctors hardly practice what the preach, pointing out that, this event will afford them the opportunity to engage in a variety of sports for the period the event will last.

The Commissioner of Health commended the effort of the state Governor to reposition the health sector to make it vibrant so that it would be able to meet the health challenges of the people through the instrument of the Rescue Agenda, and asserted that, the process of uplifting the Health sector has been earnest, polio eradication in the state received unequalled boost, all counterpart and other intervention on the part of the state Government have all been cleared, employment of over 150 nurses and health workers as well as the continuation in the completion of structures in the school of nursing and midwifery and the commencement of admissions and lecture which was banned over ten years ago because of lack requisite facilities for the training of nurses and midwives.

Also speaking, the President of National Medical Association NMA, Dr. Mike Ozovehe Ogirima disclosed that the first edition of the Games was first held in Eket Akwa Ibom state in 2014, Ado-Ekiti in 2016 and Jalingo the Taraba state capital is hosting the 2017 edition tagged, Jalingo 2017.

He revealed that the NMA games was put in place following the terrific increase in the number of deaths morbidities amongst Doctors and the challenges of the 21st century.

Dr. Mike Ogirima maintained that, the games is aimed at improving the physical and mental well-being of medical practitioners so that they will be able to cope with the growing health challenges in the country and encouraged members of the NMA to make sacrifices, support and commitment to the issues of the Association as it is the rallying point for the medical practitioners to come together to project and portray the image of the Association to the general public in a positive manner.

In their separate speeches, the national chairman, NMA National sports committee, Dr. Richard Ojinmah and chairman NMA local organising committee, Dr. Tijos Kenneth both said the event is meant to cement positive relationship among Doctors and challenged them to make used of the excellent facilities provided by the state government.

They appreciated the enormous support and encouragement received from the state government, saying that, they will make optimum use of the facilities provided.

Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku declared the event opened and also took the first football kick.

The four-day event will feature games such as football, table tennis, draughts, Scrabble, chess, lawn tennis, badminton and basketball.