By DAPO FALADE
Oyo State governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Wednesday, declared that his administration is revolutionising the health sector in the state.
He made the declaration while commissioning the remodelled and renamed Saki Specialist Hospital, just as he revoked the abandoned Saki Township road contract, awarded by the immediate past administration.
The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, said the contract for the township road would be re-awarded to a more competent contractor within the next four weeks.
He commissioned the Infectious Disease Centre, Saki, an uncompleted project inherited from the last administration but now remodelled and upgraded to a 100-bed specialist hospital in the wake of the outbreak of COVID-19 in the state.
Governor Makinde said, with the ongoing revolution in the state’s health sector, his administration will deliver 351 model primary health care centres at one per electoral ward in the state before the end of its tenure in 2023.
He said the current administration will go into the annals of Oyo State history as the one that turned existing and moribund health infrastructure into state-of-the-art medical facilities.
“If Oyo State can start with attracting medical tourism from other states within Nigeria, it means that economic activities will significantly improve,” he said.
He further said as the government continues to upgrade health facilities in the state in line with its commitment to quality health care delivery, it would also continue to equip and maintain them and also ensure that they have the best personnel.
“It gives me great pleasure to be back here in Saki, less than three months after our last visit, to commission this Infectious Disease Centre. This facility will now be named Saki Specialist Hospital. We have invested close to half a billion naira on this facility. And for equipment alone, we have invested over N250 million,” he said.
The governor recalled how the government had rebuffed efforts to set up isolation centres in stadiums, choosing to upgrade existing medical facilities, a decision which he said has paid off greatly as shown through the success stories with the Infectious Disease Centre, Olodo and now the Saki Specialist Hospital.
He said: “When we started work on the conversion and upgrade of this facility, it was initially intended to be an Observatory, Isolation and Treatment Centre to support our efforts towards fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. But we also had more long-term goals to ensure that it fits into our overall plan to improve the healthcare system in the nooks and crannies of Oyo State.
“When we took over last year, our healthcare system was not in the best shape. At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to make the tough decisions to leverage the situation and accelerate our plans to address the dilapidating healthcare infrastructure in Oyo State.
“We were pressured to create temporary isolation centres in stadiums and other open spaces, but we remained steadfast in our resolve to upgrade existing facilities, because we saw an opportunity even in that state of despair. And this is the result of that decision.
“This infectious disease centre, as well as the one in Olodo, are direct results of our well-thought-out approach. When the history of Oyo State is written, it will be on the record that this administration turned the existing infrastructure into state-of-the-art medical facilities.
“Well, we have a lot of amenities to be proud of. I’ll just mention a few. Here, we have a 10-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with two Gradian State-of-the-Art mechanical ventilators with humidifiers, various accessories and three patient monitors. We also have two CPAP machines with face shields and re-breather bags to deliver maximum oxygen requirements.
“Additionally, we have a 12-bed High Dependency Unit (HDU) with piped oxygen. Other facilities we have here at the Saki Infectious Disease Centre are: Twelve-bed Female General Ward, twenty-bed Male General Ward, an operating theatre and a recovery room.
“We also have some high-end laboratories and equipment that will aid research into infectious diseases. The medical community will be excited to know that we have Cobas c 111 [co-bas see triple one] analyser here now. Also, we have a Parameter Haematology [he-ma-to-lo-gy] Analyser, Clotting Profile Analyser, autoclave [or-to-clayv] and biosafety cabinet.
“So, there is a 12-bed Observatory Unit, 10-bed Isolation Unit, and seven-bed Resuscitation Unit. And to power this centre we have two diesel generators (400 KVA and 40KVA) and 14, 110 watts solar-street-lights for perimeter lighting. We also have a pharmacy inside, CCTV control room, mobile x-ray unit and many more.”
Governor Makinde made reference to how some elements in the opposition have become fond of throwing shades at his government for finishing projects the immediate past administration left uncompleted
He insisted that he would always works towards ensuring that Oyo State people get value for their money, saying “it is not about starting a project and abandoning it, but finishing it is what is essential.”
He added that the government is confident that the quality of research that will be carried out at the two centres will slow down the spread of infectious diseases such as Lassa Fever, Yellow Fever, Tuberculosis and others.
This was as he appreciated the immediate past Chief Medical Director of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Professor Temitope Alonge, who is the coordinator of the state’s Isolation Centre, for the role he played in the delivery of the project.
In their separate remarks, the Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Bashir Bello and Professor Alonge, described the facility as unique, stating that it will not only serve the purpose of being an observatory, isolation and treatment centre for COVID-19, it will also be put to good use as a standard health facility for other purposes.
While speaking, an elated Okere of Saki, commended the governor for always trying to keep his promise.
He said the hospital project is such a huge relief for his community, which he said has never felt the presence of government.