The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has berated past administrations in the state for neglecting the Stella Obasanjo Hospital, after government had expended so much money in establishing the facility.
The governor, who said this during an assessment of facilities at the Stella Obasanjo Hospital along Sapele Road in Benin City, decried the neglect of equipment and lack of maintenance at the hospital.
He assured that his administration was focused on total restructuring of the health sector in the state to deal with the challenge of medical tourism.
Obaseki said one of the main issues confronting the healthcare system in Nigeria is who pays for the services, noting that, up till now, there is no comprehensive system where people save for their healthcare needs.
“We have introduced and passed into law the Edo State Health Insurance law, which makes it compulsory for every citizen in Edo to save toward their healthcare needs, just as we have done with the pension for workers in Edo State.”
He said his administration will deal with the challenges of funding to maintain hospital infrastructure and pay for quality personnel in the healthcare sector in Edo State.
According to him, “We have embarked on this inspection today to ensure that the basic healthcare centers provide quality healthcare services. You can’t ask people to pay for low-quality healthcare services. I am disappointed with what I have seen here today as this hospital is less than 14 years old. You can see that there is no serious maintenance work here.
“I am really shocked that we had a facility like this and didn’t think of expanding, improving or upgrading it but started building what we call a five-star hospital. So much investment was made here 12 years ago and we didn’t optimise it.”
The governor said he has spoken with the management of the hospital on plans to upgrade the facility.
“We are looking at consolidating the services provided in the Central Hospital. We want to pull down the old buildings and invite private investors to invest in state-of-the-art specialised facilities that we may not be able to afford. This will enable us to deal realistically with the challenges of medical tourism.”
He said his administration is fine-tuning strategies for distributing 200 doctors in government hospitals across the State so as to address the shortage of staff.
The governor used the opportunity of the visit to interact with patients at the pediatric and women wards in the hospital, assuring them that they can reach him on email and social messaging application, WhatsApp, for complaints.