Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed
Hammed Shittu writes that the march towards improving living standards and the innovative approach to governance by the Kwara State Government is changing the perception about governance
In 2008, Kabiru Mohammed, a trader based in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State wanted to know what disease was attacking his 5-year-old son whose stomach suddenly became unusually big. He took the child to a hospital in the city, but the detection of the ailment was difficult. There was no equipment to scan his son’s stomach.
But now all that is changing. To help a heart patient fight prostate cancer, to help families protect their health and to help citizens’ access quality health care delivery, the Kwara State government recently unveiled a multibillion naira advanced diagnostic centre in Ilorin, the state capital.
In May 2010, when he came to power as the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed began overhauling of healthcare delivery in the state with various health related packages he put in place to add value to the socio-economic growth of the Kwarans.
This determination to improve on the healthcare delivery of the populace is not far-fetched. His predecessor, Senator Bukola Saraki, had put the state on the threshold of history in healthcare reform.
Saraki’s administration, upon which the present administration of Ahmed continued, had constructed various healthcare institutions across the three senatorial districts of the state and even equipped them with both drugs and health personnel so as to bring healthcare delivery to the doorsteps of the indigenes.
Faced with the growing need for more, the present administration recruited more qualified medical personnel into the healthcare institutions across the state, while some of these medical personnel were also sent out for further medical training so as to ensure efficient and effective healthcare delivery for the people.
Also, the government embarked on the renovation of infrastructure in some of the healthcare institutions, especially in five General hospitals in the state.
The affected five hospitals currently undergoing renovation in the state are Ilorin, Offa, Omu-Aran, Share and Kaima and they are at 75 per cent completion to ensure that the people of the state have access to quality healthcare delivery.
However, in order to consolidate this giant stride in its healthcare delivery, the administration of Governor Ahmed unveiled the Advanced Diagnostic Centre for early detection of diseases; an important step in the prevention of unnecessary deaths.
The centre is aimed at complementing the efforts of the government towards ensuring that the people who are suffering from one ailment or the other can be diagnosed speedily for rightful application of medicine.
Apart from this, the establishment of the centre would also discourage many patients from traveling overseas for diagnosis of sickness and thus reducing capital flight out of the country.
The diagnostic centre complex, which is located in Ilorin, the state capital along New Yidi road, comprises of imaging and laboratory wings with other state-of-the-art medical equipment capable of serving both residents and non-residents of the state.
The medical equipment include 3D Magnetic Resonance Image Module, Ultrasound Scan, ECG, Mammography, X-ray machine, Fluoroscopy, 16-slides and 64-slide CT-Scan Machine, all complete with a dedicated UPS.
The laboratory wing of the centre is also complemented with equipment such as Haematology Analyser, Automated Coagulation Analyser etc in the Haematology Laboratory, and COBAS 4000 Analyser series used for serum chemistry and immunoassay in the Immunology Laboratory.
Also in the Microbiology Laboratory is automated Blood Culture system, modified Fuchs Rosenthal Counting Chamber, Class 1 Biological System and PCR, making some medical experts to rank it among the best available in the world.
Health is Wealth
Speaking at the official launching of the centre in Ilorin, Vice-President Namadi Sambo said one of the most valuable assets in the world is good health. “The Centre would solve healthcare delivery challenge of Nigerians and ensure access of citizenry to proper diagnosis of their ailments,” he said.
The Vice-President, who said that effective functioning of the Medical Centre can build people's confidence and patronage, added that its location between the South Western and the Northern parts of the country puts it at a vantage point for patronage.
He also said that the new Diagnostic Centre is capable of saving Nigeria from capital flight on medical tourism and treatment in the neighbouring West Africa and other foreign countries.
Sambo, who commended the courage of the state government concerning the conception and execution of the project, described the Centre as one of the best in Africa.
He added: “The outflow of resources from the country would be a thing of the past with effective functioning of the Centre. I believe it would also boost people's confidence and patronage.” He equally challenged the Kwara state government to employ qualified manpower to manage the newly-unveiled Centre.
Dream Come True
For Abdulfatah Ahmed it was a dream come true. He said, "indeed, this day marked another milestone in the history of the state and certainly that of Nigeria’s health sector.”
According to him, “The opening of this centre is part of the fulfillment of this administration’s commitment to providing qualitative healthcare to the people of this state in particular and the nation in general”.
“It may interest people to know that this centre is a product of our long and persistent quest for excellence in all aspects of medical diagnosis. This is based on our recognition that proper diagnosis is a necessary precondition for effective medical treatment. This Centre, therefore, is critical to our policy thrust on health with its twin focus on quality and access,” he enthused.
The governor also said that with the imminent completion of the major rehabilitation of Ilorin, Offa, Omu-Aran, Share and Kaiama hospitals, the centre would further establish his administration's healthcare delivery system as one of the most modern in the country.
“Additionally, it is our hope that this opening of this centre will help reverse the current trend whereby Nigerians spend millions of dollars on health tourism to countries such as India, Egypt and South Africa.
“In the process, we hope to generate considerable internal revenue by providing advanced medical diagnosis at competitive rates here in Kwara State. Furthermore, this centre will be run through a Public-Private-Partnership with a highly reputable firm, MedEquip Company Nigeria Limited, which has handled similar projects in many parts of the country and based on our deliberate policy to locate its management outside the civil service”, he said.
Commenting on the Centre, a resident, Alhaji Isola Bello, who lauded the government gesture for establishing it, said the government should assist the people to make it affordable so that the intention of putting healthcare delivery on the doorsteps of the rural populace would not be defeated.
Also a carpenter, Mr. Issac Oyerinde, commended the state government on the laudable project, saying that, “the government should not allow the facilities at the Centre to become abandoned in the future.”
With the establishment and unveiling of the Advanced Diagnostic Centre in Ilorin, the era of residents and non-residents travelling abroad for medical check-ups may be over. Kudos must go to the government of Kwara State, on this delivery of active good governance.