The General Hospital, Itori, in Ewekoro Local Government Area of Ogun State, is one of secondary health centres established by the former governor of the state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.
The main purpose of the hospital was to provide healthcare for the people of the LG and its environs. Unlike primary health centres, which are directly under the purview of local governments, the General Hospital (Itori) is a baby, whose ‘welfare’ is to be ensured by the Hospital Management Board, under the State Ministry of Health.
Just like any infrastructural project, the hospital in Itori, which was built with modern touch and has facilities such as doctors’ lodge, medical laboratories, wards, theatre, morgue and other medical facilities, requires maintenance. But the neglect of the immediate past administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun, had rendered the hospital, not only to a “mere consulting centre”, but a decrepit not befitting human habitation.
Ordinarily, the total neglect of several projects initiated by Amosun’s predecessor, would had been viewed by many people as political move by SIA, as he is called by admirers, but deliberately leaving a major healthcare facility in his own ancestral local government to dilapidate, in the name of politics, was an height of administrative irresponsibility.
For eight good years, under Amosun’s watch, the General Hospital and it’s likes, were crying for government attention. Many residents of Itori and Ewekoro LG, suffered lack of good healthcare. Many lives that would have been saved had been lost due to the bad state of the hospital.
The main structures of the hospital were not only allowed to rot away, medical personnel, due to lack of medical equipment, abandoned the hospital.
Many a time, residents of Ewekoro Local Government and other concerned residents of Ogun, had voiced out their worries over the decrepit state of the hospital. They all called on the then governor to give the hospital a facelift, but all their pleas fell into the governor’s deaf ears.
Not few victims of auto crashes on the Itori/Papalanto axis of Lagos-Sango-Abeokuta Expressway, had perished due to the comatose emergency unit of the general hospital. Several of these crash victims would have survived, but the hospital, which is supposed to be a first aid point before a referral, had been made handicapped to operate. No thanks to the ‘I don’t care’ attitude of the immediate past administration in the state.
Even, after the Convoy Commander of the former governor, ASP Busoye Olayinka, and his younger brother lost their lives in an accident very close to the Itori General Hospital, the governor refused to be moved into taking action. The commander, a young, agile and friendly police officer, with his brother, was traveling to check on his family at Gudugba Town, few metres to Arigbajo, along the expressway, when their vehicle rammed into an articulated vehicle belonging to a steel company at Ewekoro. Olayinka’s ash-colour Nissan Primeira car with Registration No. Lagos PH 406 KJA, had rammed into a truck with Registration No KWARA LEM 77 XA, from the rear along the expressway.
The convoy commander’s brother who was behind the wheel died on the spot, but the police officer was rushed to Itori General Hospital. Lack of emergency medical equipment and personnel at the hospital played out as usual and the officer eventually gave up the ghost.
Apparently worried by this ugly situation, the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) in Ogun State, rang the alarm bell, to draw attention of the people and stakeholders to the bad state of hospitals in the state. One of such calls on the governor by the Ogun NMA in 2016 by the then state chairman, Dr. Abayomi Olajide, who led a delegation to the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, to intercede with the then governor, Amosun, on the poor condition of health facilities across Ogun.
An online news medium, New Flagship on December 15, 2016, had reported the Ogun NMA’s pleas to the Alake under the headline: “Nigeria Medical Association Abeokuta Branch, begs the Alake to Intercede in Medicare System of Ogun State’.
The story reads:
The Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association, Dr. Abayomi Olajide, has called on the Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, to urgently intercede with Ogun State government on what he described as poor state of health facilities and personnel.
Dr Abayomi Olajide who led a 10-Man Executive Delegation to the Alake, appealed to the Egba Paramount Ruler that NMA did not like to embark on any form of strike action at all, bearing in mind the social contact medical practitioners all over the world had with the public in maintaining and sustaining lives.
The NMA Chairman told the Alake that the Association was aware of the competing projects asking for the attention of the governor, he argued that about 200 medical doctors for all government hospitals in the state, only 30 specialists, very few nurses, doctors on internship and shortage of other medical hands, is worrisome to medical system in Ogun State.
He disclosed that the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta had 60 specialists as against 30 in Ogun.
Olajide said there was urgent need to overhaul medical equipment and infrastructure to meet the health demand of the state. He also complained about the rising number of cases of quack doctors in the state who are taking advantage of poor health facilities in the state, adding that NMA was fighting hard to stop the dangerous trend.
He therefore called on the Alake, who he described as a major stakeholder, and other Taobao rulers, to persuade Governor Ibikunle Amosun, who he described as hardworking, to give priority attention to medicare system in Ogun State.
Reacting to NMA Chairman’s requests, the Alake promised that he would contact the government on their requests and that the doctors should ever remember that it the general public that suffer in any disruption of medical services.
Oba Gbadebo said some members of his immediate family are professors and medical personnel and was in a better position to understand NMA standpoint.
He asked them to continue to dialogue with the government while he would take their demands to appropriate quarters.
The Alake said Egba had earlier experienced the excellent job of medical doctors with the establishment of Sacred Heart Hospital led by Catholic Church’s Father Coquard, adding the Egba people would ever be grateful to late Dr. Olikoye Ransome Kuti for ensuring that a Federal Medical Centre was situated in Abeokuta.
Prior to the above news story, a story written by Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, on the same subject matter, was published by another online medium on June 23, 2013, with a screaming headline: ‘Don’t lie, Ogun has no free health services, doctors tell Gov. Amosun’.
The story reads thus:
The Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Ogun State Chapter, has dismissed claims of free medical services by the state.
The association, speaking through its chairman, Olusoji Jagun, declared that the government was yet to provide qualitative health care delivery system to the people of the state, and had been “paying lip service” to the funding of healthcare in the state.
“The situation in Ogun health sector is appalling. There are poor infrastructural development all over hospitals in the state. There are no CT Scans in Ogun state government hospitals.
Ultrasound scan is an essential commodity neither can we boast of a 4 D scan, DIgital X-ray, fluoroscopy in any government hospital in Ogun,” Mr. Jagun said.
“The teaching hospital only exists as such by name; it is full of professionally incapacitated, underutilized and unmotivated people. Further speaking, the association boss maintained that all is not well with healthcare system in the state, pointing out that there seems to be no change of innovation and facilities in most hospitals across the state”.
Mr. Jagun said most of the state hospitals are grossly under staffed, while available health providers were being overworked thereby reducing productivity level.
“Most hospitals at night are in darkness and this is very unsafe. The state government tried in the resuscitation of the emergency ambulance services and use sophisticated equipments to resuscitate patients and transport them to hospitals where the wherewithal for sustenance is not there,” he stated.
“Ogun hospitals deserve better attention and the skewed distribution of personnel should be given due attention. There is no free health care in Ogun state so people should stop assaulting doctors and other health workers when they tell them to go and pay for services”.
In similar vein, the NMA chairman added that the community based health insurance scheme being advocated by the state government was yet to see the light of the day, noting that the health indices in the country would continue to grow worse as long as there are no appropriate plans for health care financing.
With the news reports above, one would be able to know, as a matter of fact, that health sector of Ogun under Amosun, experienced not a only major setback, but a near-total neglect.
As Tribune Newspaper mocks Senator Ibikunle Amosun with “Tribune’s Platinum Award” for “improving the state of health facilities in the state”, his befitting Platinum Award for political deceit and irresponsibility, especially in the health sector, awaits him at the Ogun People’s Tribunal.