By Yinka Kolawole
Osun State Government yesterday explained that $20.5million received from the World Health Organisation (WHO) was meant for the revitalisation and the development of 332 Primary Health Care centres in all the wards in the state.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Rafiu Isamotu, stated this at an inter-ministerial press conference, where the achievements of Governor Gboyega Oyetola’s administration, in the last 20 months were reeled out and the $20.5 million health grant clarified.
According to Isamotu, the state governor made health care of residents of the state his corner stone/priority and had channelled the WHO grant to revitalisation, renovation, rehabilitation and upgrading of the 332 Primary Health Care centres in all the wards in the state.
Isamotu added that all the state general hospitals were also renovated, upgraded and equipped, while new bed wards and doctors’ quarters were also built.
He said as achievements of the Oyetola’s administration, 600 free surgical operations funded by the state government were also conducted, in collaboration with an NGO.
He said as part of the state government fight against COVID-19, 350-bed space isolation centres were also built by the state government and that test kits, drugs and other medical items, worth N251.5 million were also procured and supplied to all the health centres and hospitals in the state.
Corroborating the Commissioner of health, the state Commissioner for Works and Transport, Remi Omowaiye, explained that the WHO grant was gotten for the ‘Saving One Million Lives’ programme and that the money had been judiciously used.
Omowaiye explained that the money was not given directly to the state but deposited with the Central Bank of Nigeria and that the money is being released, gradually, through a due process and on the ground that it would be used on health matters.
He said in addition to revitalising the 332 health centres in the state, the sum of N100, 000 is given to each of the centres monthly as their running cost.
He explained that the clarification on how the WHO grant was used or being used became necessary based on calls by people in the opposition party on the state government to explain what and how the money is expended.
He said his ministry handled the construction and rehabilitation of several roads and construction of bed wards and other health facilities plus the rehabilitation of the state general hospitals, adding that most construction and rehabilitation had been completed.
Omowaiye explained that the governor is the Chairman of the State Health Revitalisation Committee, and that the governor was always supervising the activities of the state ministries to ensure that money released and gotten for health care were properly and judiciously used.
Mrs. Olufunke Egbemode, the state Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, in her address said the inter-ministerial press conference, which is the administration’s maiden edition, was organised to present the score cards of Governor Oyetola and his cabinet.
Egbemode said the government would be holding the inter-ministerial press conference on a monthly basis to update journalists and by extension the masses, of the activities of the state government.
She however employed journalists to help sensitise residents of the state on the importance and need of using the face mask as preventive measure against COVID-19, saying the government was aware of the adamant nature of people of the state towards using facemasks