By Dr Bola Olaosebikan
Given the popular aphorism that says, ’health is wealth,’ the health sector in every state has always been top on the priority list of governments in Nigeria and the citizens have always been expecting better health care programmes from successive government. However, for a long time, the hope and aspirations of the people have been dashed for many years by successive administrations which had little or no interest in the health sector.
The story is fast changing in Oyo state; the template is changing; the jinx breaking leadership at the helms of affairs in Oyo state has prioritized health to become one of the most important social sector in the state; the most important sector for human development and the most important sector for transformation in the state. Consequently, Governor Abiola Ajimobi has commenced the process of raising the bar of quality service delivery from all government hospitals in Oyo state. The Ajimobi’s administration wants to address the issue of medical tourism and save Nigerians billions of foreign exchange that are annually expended by turning Oyo state to a medical hub in Nigeria.
In Oyo state today, Governor Ajimobi is poised to end the era of our health sector being in comatose and the usual rhetoric that, ‘our hospitals has become mere consulting clinics’ by taking the bold steps on the health sector in the state through the introduction of health insurance, a N50Billion endowment fund for transformation, holistic intervention and complete overhaul of health care delivery system in Oyo state.
It is believed that with better funding and improved management of public health system, over 80% of members of the public will get adequate and quality health care delivery. However, getting this fund from the traditional funding template of budgetary provisions, fee for services provided in the hospital, loans for projects, among others have not solved the problem of inadequate funding in the health sector in the nation and by extension, most states.
Oyo state is running a massive free health programmes for millions of people in the state at a cost to the state government. The government has kept to this promise and free medical services have been provided to children, pregnant women, the elderly and general public. These medical services include free surgical intervention programmes in various parts of the state as well as free blood pressure check, and malaria treatment.
When the history of Oyo State is written, the name of Governor Abiola Ajimobi will be written in gold for his passionate interest in the transformation of health care delivery in the State for the benefits of the people. More than any Governor in the history of Oyo state, he has shown that he has the political will to transform the health sector for the overall development of the people and mankind.
The government of Governor Ajimobi wants to restore the state of excellence in Oyo state hospitals and health centres, where the facilities are restored, rebuilt, rehabilitated, renovated and re-equipped with modern medical equipment needed in various units and departments. A transformed health sector where there is light or solar energy provision and where water runs unhindered.
The transformation also have manpower component with the plans to have highly motivated medical workers through various innovative programmes. This is the first time this type of innovation would be introduced and launched in the state and in the country.
The Oyo State healthcare Endowment Scheme would be launched on 3rd of August by the Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi. And on that unique day, the Pace Setter state would be welcoming eminent dignitaries and personalities form all walks of life to support its health development. Many organizations in the financial, insurance, medical, pharmaceutical and international organizations would be attending this great event that will complement the efforts of Governor Ajimobi’s free medical services and quality health delivery.
The people of Oyo state will soon begin to enjoy this great innovation totally designed to improve health care delivery in Oyo state. Well-meaning people of the state and beyond should support this laudable project in Oyo state which is expected to turn the health sector around in terms of infrastructural upgrade, manpower development and above rendering of quality health care that will be among the best throughout the world.
Oyo state and Governor Ajimobi should be commended for this groundbreaking innovative strategy that has been conceived to bring in additional funds to support the state hospitals and health centres in the state. And with this strategy, Oyo state is laying a new financial foundation for good health care delivery in the state.
The Oyo State Healthcare Endowment Fund that would be launched on August 3rd, 2017 in Ibadan is a perfect example synergy between public and private sector, a perfect example of clapping with the two hands: the hands of the public and the private sector, the hand of government and corporate bodies, hand of government and international bodies and a true example of inter-sectoral collaboration found in a government and state where there is genuine political will for true development.
Dr Olaosebikan is the Consultant for Oyo State Healthcare Endowment Fund