By Ismaeel UTHMAN
There’s no gainsaying the fact that the Governor of the state of Osun, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, has made healthcare delivery the flagship of his administration. And the sector has received the desired attention needed to provide healthy living through free and accessible healthcare services to the people of the state. Governor Oyetola’s direct focus on Primary Health Centres, which is the nearest healthcare delivery point to the people is a spotlight of his administration.
About two months after his inauguration as the Governor, Oyetola set up Osun Revitalisation and Renovation Committee to holistically revamp the health sector, with Primary Health Centre in focus. Governor Oyetola, who was the Chairman of the committee, said he took charge to ensure that the 332 PHCs go into full operation within the shortest possible time, stating that “a healthy state is a wealthy state.”
Oyetola said he was also looking forward to the actualisation of the planned upgrading of the Wesley Guild Hospital in Ilesa to a Federal Medical Centre.
The Governor’s quest for the promotion of healthy living among the people of the state received a boost as the state was given a sum of $20m dollars support fund by the World Bank to help fix health facilities. The fund was part of the World Bank’s Saving One Million Lives (SOML) programme for result initiative.
Immediately the money was received, the Governor swung into action as he flagged off the renovation of General Hospitals in Ejigbo and Ifetedo on February 21, this year. The two hospitals were 98% completed as at the time of filing this report.
According to the Commissioner for Health, Dr RafiuIsamotu, Osun has over 1000 PHCs, perhaps the largest in Nigeria. Of the 1000, he said 876 of them were functional. The move to renovate the PHCs began on March 5, 2019 when the Governor flagged off the renovation of the PHC at Oke Baale, Osogbo.
Isamotu in an interview with OSUN DEFENDER stated that the government was renovating 332 PHCs, one in each political ward. This will be on the basis of one PHC per ward, so as to bring healthcare to the doorsteps of the people at the grassroots, he said.
The Commissioner stated: “Presently, we are renovating 175 PHCs, of which more than 50 have been commissioned. The next 100 had been awarded. All the renovated PHCs have been equipped with basic equipments and instruments which they need to function effectively according to World Health Standard.
“Drugs worth over N200 million were procured for our PHCs and distributed accordingly. We had equally sunk motorised boreholes in all of our 332 PHCs for completeness sake and effective water system.
“Absolute and complete renovation had taken place at our State Specialist Hospital Asubiaro, Osogbo. This renovation involves Accident and Emergency Department which had been hitherto vandalised and desecrated by monkeys.
“Laboratory Complex, Blood Bank, Hope Clinic and of course our Theatre Complex with massive and comprehensive renovation is also ongoing. After the completion of the renovation, we would have four modular theatres with state-of- the-art equipments that can compete with any in the world. Mr Governor flagged off construction of 120 bedded wards with private and semi private wards inclusive.
“Basement area that can accommodate 100 relatives of our patients and serve as rest areas to avoid unnecessary roaming round the hospital is also in plan. Doctors’ offices are also included in our ongoing 120 bedded wards construction.
“On the same day, the Governor flagged off Construction of 30-flat Doctors Quarters for our junior doctors, this will ensure that at any point in time, doctors are available at our State Specialist Hospital, Asubiaro, Osogbo. There is also an effective water system done at the hospital by sinking more boreholes to serve areas hitherto not covered.
“On his own, the Governor initiated the issue of CONMESS (salary structure for doctors) and CONHESS (for other health workers). We have almost concluded this which will be effective soon enough. The Governor is aware of gap in our personnel, we submitted what we need to do in-terms of recruitment to fill the gap and he has agreed to same.
“The Governor is not happy about the state of things at our State Specialist Hospital Asubiaro, Osogbo and as such had approved procurement of basic needs to make the hospital function effectively and live up to its name as a Specialist Hospital. Two Ambulances have been approved for us by the Governor. Our emergency department will now function as it needs to.
“We are also working hard to strengthen State hospitals in Iwo and Ilesa to anchor as referral centres for West and East Senatorial Districts.”
Besides, the Oyetola’s administration on July 8, this year released a sum of N150 million take-off grant for the Osun Health Insurance Scheme, to ensure effectiveness in the health insurance operation.
Executive Secretary of the Osun Health Insurance Scheme (OHIS) Dr. Niyi Ogini, said the grant was being used for the establishment of Osun Health Insurance Business and Zonal offices across the 68 LGAs and the LCDAs. He said: “The grant is also employment of ad-hoc personnel, provision of operational vehicles, conduct of vulnerable research and enrolment of the vulnerable population among others; installment of necessary ICT infrastructure for health insurance operation as well as conduct advocacy and sensitisation of different sectors of population with capacity-building.”
Speaking, Isamotu said: “Osun Health Insurance Scheme (OHIS) is up and running. It is a full fledged Agency of the Ministry and has a Governing Board of its own. Government has done its needful for an effective take off. It will go live at the end of this month or first week in December.
“Capturing of enrollees for both formal and informal sectors had been perfected. The latter is done through their respective associations while the former is straightforward and done through Bureaucracy.”