Y. J Otuoze
Right from inception of Alhaji Yahaya Bello’s administration, health was among the five thematic areas prioritized by his administration.
The governor was able to actualise his health policies for the state via his numerous free services, maternal and new born healthcare for the people across the state and the introduction of Sustainable Drug Supply System (SDSS) in the sector assisted tremendously in arresting the ugly trend of diversion of health care facilities, especially drugs.
The SDSS adoption in the state helped the ministry of health to monitor and track the movement of drugs or drugs distribution channels across the state.
Also the healthcare plus, introduced by Governor Bello’s led administration was aims to help expectant mothers and children below five years of age. In addition the administration has recruited trained and retrained health workers of various specialties.
Gov Bello’s commitment to the health sector has led to the remodeling of the State Specialist Hospital which is still ongoing. The Zonal Hospitals at Idah and Isanlu has been rehabilitated too to serve the people better.
The Governor also extend his hand of fellowship to College of Nursing and Midwifery Obangede with repositioning and giving of a facelift to the College through the construction of a perimeter fence, construction of new classrooms as well as the renovation of some of the existing structures.
The state government has also constructed a new administrative block, ultra-modern hostel blocks and a new clinic, recreational facility and the accreditation of Midwifery as a course for the health institution.
Aside the College of Nursing Obangede, the government has also provided three academic blocks at the College of Health Science and Technology Idah including a clinic to serve the students and staff. The State Government has also introduced Pharmacy Technology as a new course and accreditation of courses that has remained unaccredited in the institution for years.
Governor Bello’s led administration also recruited 2,424 health professionals across the state to fill the manpower gap in the health sector, while 332 Primary Health Centres one per ward was provided plus the provision of essential drugs and basic medical equipment.
Further more, the state government has reactivate the Lassa fever isolation centre and established Kogi State Bio-safety lab which has also been completed, equipped and is fully operational.
Other achievements of the State Government in the health sector include the construction of two new general hospitals in Adavi and Ajaokuta local government areas which previously had none.
The establishment of Okene Reference Hospital in Okene which has reached 95 percent completion and the establishment of Kogi State Health Insurance Agency to carter for the healthcare of the workers and pensioners in the State , in addition to primary health care under one roof which was established by the present administration for efficient service delivery to the people.
According to the New Direction Agenda of the present Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello’s Government on Health, the major aim of government intervention is to be “a prime provider of affordable health care, making available the necessary legislation to enable health sector policies and reforms make a difference in the life of the citizens of the State.
This will improve lives and promote healthy living in every aspect of the society”. This has been the driving force behind all government activities and expenditure in recent times including the building of the New Reference Hospitals in Okene and 6 other major cities in Kogi State.
These splendid edifices, which are nearing completion, had brought joy and relief to citizens who feel a sense of pride and expectation of quality and affordable comprehensive tertiary health services in their immediate domain without the challenges of travelling out with its attendant security and financial risks.
Visit by our correspondent to the hospital discovered that many of the equipment that will be deployed at the hospital are already available, like the Hyperbaric oxygen treatment chamber which is debuting Nigeria for the first time, fully furnished cardiology suites where investigative and interventional therapy will be carried out, are also available.
A diagnostic and therapeutic procedure that has an AP lab and a Cat lab are all coming into the country for the first time.
A world class Reference Hospital has Female Wards Male Wards, Emergency Wards, Surgical Wards, Medical Wards, VIP Ward, VVIP Wards, all of which are ten each in number. It also has a Ward for Renal ailments and another one for Dental issues. It has two different Laboratories (Hematology Lab and Histopathology Lab).
The Hospital is fitted with Ultra Sound Room for scanning, Mammography (Scanning for breast cancer), MRI Machine (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), Oxygen Building, Hyperbaric Oxygen Center etc.
The Hospital has has Four Consultancy Rooms with Eight Call Rooms Three Elevators, Eight Pharmacy Sections, Antenatal Clinic, Neonatal Room, Nurse Station, Post Natal, Surgery Theatre, Collection Point, Blood Bank etc.
There are more than 12 Electrical Rooms, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with Nine bed spaces, Standard Theatre Rooms and Five well-equipped Libraries for doctors.
It has a 60-seat capacity Conference Hall, Standard Seminar Hall with Six projectors and electronic gadgets and a befitting Restaurant.
Everywhere in the architectural masterpiece is electronically wired with CCTV Cameras, Automatic Fire Extinguisher and Water Sprinklers, fire hose (Automatic fire fighter.
It has a covered walkway – because of rain, a robust panel for 24-hour water supply, an X-Ray Room that is made up of laid linen which protects the machine from damage and stops it from giving wrong results as well as the Earth Rod which protects the machine from thunder and lightening.
During his recent inspection of the 300-bed space Reference Hospital, Okene which stands unique among the several medical facilities, initiated by his administration, governor Bello assured the citizens that the soon-to-be-inaugurated Reference Hospital, Okene, will put an end to medical tourism in the country.
While speaking with newsmen, the governor added the ultra-modern medical epicenter was fully equipped with world-class state-of-the-art facilities.
He noted that the hospital has several first-of-its-kind medical equipment which could render similar services to world-renowned hospitals that many Nigerians run to for healthcare.
He stated that what inspired the conception of such a befitting, gigantic, and the well-equipped medical facility was the understudy of expenses Nigerians make on seeking medical attention outside the shores of Nigeria as a result of various medical conditions.
The governor who expressed satisfaction with the level and quality of work done across all the projects inspected stressed that aside that the fact that Reference hospitals would stop medical tourism, it would also help save the country millions of dollars spent abroad on medical bills
Bello noted that while the government planned to help the hospital stand on its feet when operations commenced, it was already working out an all-encompassing model which would be used to run the medical facilities, alongside other ultra-modern hospitals in a bid to guarantee their self-sustenance, while they remained affordable for the people of the state.
Experts spoke to revealed that the hospital could attend to any form of medical challenges adding that the oxygen plant installed in the hospital could provide oxygen for other neighboring hospitals across the country.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Kogi State chapter, has said that the Kogi State Reference Hospital, Okene and the remodelling of Kogi State Specialist Hospital (KSSH), Lokoja will definitely solve medical health challenges in the state and the nation in general.
The State’s Chairman of NMA, Dr Olusola Baoku, in a chat with Nigerian Tribune commended the Governor’s for his great achievements in the state’s health sector.
The NMA eulogised the governor for the infrastructural development in the health institutions across the state.
“We thank the governor for the construction of a beautiful edifice, the Kogi State Reference Hospital, Okene, remodelling of Kogi State Specialist Hospital (KSSH), Lokoja, as well as renovation and revitalization of various cottage hospitals across the state, among several other health infrastructure developments,” he said.
The NMA further appreciated the governor’s efforts towards improving the health care delivery to the people of the state, and for making Kogi safe for all and sundry.
Baoku emphasised that the remarkable achievements of the governor in the health sector would go a long way in enhancing quality healthcare delivery for the residents of the state.
“We believe the giant stride achieved in form of infrastructural development in the health sector of the state will go a long way to serve the people. We appreciate His Excellency’s landmark achievements.”
“NMA-Kogi sincerely appreciate His Excellency for embarking on construction, renovation, upgrading and equipping of various healthcare institutions across the state.
The chairman assured the commitment of the association to give the governor full support towards achieving universal health care coverage for the people of Kogi State, and the welfare of NMA members.
However, the emergence of Alhaji Ododo Ahmed Usman as the All Progressive Congress (APC) governorship election in November 11, 2023 is a strong indication that if elected as the next governor of Kogi State he will consolidate on the achievement of governor Yahaya Bello in the area of health sectors.
When Alhaji Ododo Ahmed Usman is elected as the next governor of the state, the people of the state will be looking forward to see that he consolidate on the achievements of governor Yahaya Bello in every sectors in the state.