Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has disclosed his intention to establish a child welfare centre to cater for street children and orphans.
The governor made the disclosure while receiving members of the new governing board of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, led by the Chairman, Alhaji Bagudu Shettima, who paid him a courtesy visit in his office, on Thursday.
He said that the centre would also help in addressing the health and social needs of other vulnerable people in the state.
The governor said: “The general wellbeing of the people of Oyo State is one of the top priorities of our administration and that is why we have invested heavily on health facilities and evolved policies in the health sector, which are today being emulated by other states across the country”.
He said that it was the same gesture that led to the establishment of Access to Basic (Health) Care (ABC) Foundation by his wife, Chief Florence Ajimobi, through which, he said, many less privileged people had been assisted at no cost.
Ajimobi said: “I am, therefore, happy to inform you that plan is at an advanced stage for me to establish a Child Welfare Centre, which will see to the welfare and wellbeing of those children in need of parental care.
“It is my belief that this will help in addressing the health and social needs of our people in Oyo State and reduce the rate of child abuse, child trafficking and the use of our youths for nefarious activities like thuggery and brigandage.”
He said that the establishment of the centre would further complement several efforts of his administration in the provision of qualitative healthcare services and other socio-economic interventions in the state.
The governor, who reiterated his administration’s commitment to assisting UCH to emerge as a leading health institution in Africa, commended the institution for regularly fulfilling its civic responsibility through regular payment of tax.
He urged the board and management of UCH to improve on the standard for which the health institution was known all over Africa, pledging that his government would not hesitate to offer assistance when required.
The governor said: “UCH, like the University of Ibadan, is one of the three reasons why Oyo State is regarded as the intellectual capital of Nigeria. We are proud to have the institution in our state and it is our determination to ensure it remains the best, not just in Nigeria, but in Africa.
“I also want to use this occasion to appreciate UCH for also fulfilling its civic responsibility to the state government through regular payment of tax. For those who do not know, UCH is presently the highest taxpayer in Oyo State.”
Speaking earlier, Shettima expressed appreciation to the governor for his unflinching support for the health institution, assuring that his board would consolidate on the various successes associated with it.
He disclosed plans to hold a special retreat that would aggregate the strength of the institution to further impact on the state’s health sector and the nation at large.
The board chairman also hinted the governor about some of the activities already lined up to commemorate the institution’s 61st anniversary, the theme of which he said was the ‘Rebirth of Excellence’.
He said efforts would be made to build more on the collaboration between the state government and UCH with the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) for the Ibarapa Community Health programme.
Shetima said: “While we seek for more collaboration with the state government as well as more assistance in the area of land donation, we pledge, in the spirit of the 61st anniversary of UCH, to renew the MoU for the Ibarapa Community Health programme.
“We want to put on record that Oyo State has been very supportive and we will build more on the collaboration.”
The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of UCH, Prof. Temitope Alonge, who was on the entourage of the board Chairman, also disclosed that the old people’s clinic, which was planned to be established in each local government in the state, had taken off in 17 local council areas of the state.