Nasarawa and Push for Better Healthcare

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With the handing over of 160 bed-space capacity to Lafia Model Hospital by Nasarawa State for the takeoff of Federal University of Lafia Teaching Hospital, the government hopes to change healthcare narrative in the state. Igbawase Ukumba writes

It is obvious that Nasarawa State is witnessing a deficit in healthcare manpower, hence the intention of the state government to address this through the use of trained nurses, doctors, laboratory scientists, pharmacists and all that makes healthcare works.

It was against this background that the government donated its 160 bed-capacity Lafia Model Hospital to the Federal University of Lafia with the hope that by the completion of the project, the gigantic edifice will remain a training ground, aside the health services it is going to offer. Nevertheless, the state government would also want to see the flourishing and the influx of researchers through the gesture.

It was in this vein that Governor Abdullahi Sule was filled with gratitude to God and a sense of fulfillment that he formally handed over the Lafia Model Hospital to the Federal University of Lafia.

When handing-over the edifice to the institution, Sule recalled that his predecessor, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, had pledged to donate the edifice to the university as part of the state government’s support towards the establishment of the School of Medicine by the institution. He continued that the donation was expected to serve as a teaching hospital for students of the medical school of the university.

According to the governor, “this is in tandem with the determination of our administration to prioritise and strengthen the healthcare system of the state, considering the fact that the achievement of an industrialised state is contingent upon a healthy population. Government will continue to support the university in the training of medical personnel who will handle the issue of healthcare delivery.”

He said there was a general shortage of human resource for the health sector in the country and particularly in Nasarawa State, hence the need for the establishment of the medical school will serve as a necessary encouragement to the country’s teeming youths to take up the medical vocation. He therefore challenged youths in that direction.

“As a reciprocal gesture, I appeal to the university to encourage our citizens by reserving at least 50 per cent of its admissions for qualified indigenes of the state. I believe this will go a long way meeting the personal needs of our health institutions. We also enjoin the university to perform its cooperate social responsibilities to the state,” Sule appealed.

For the State Commissioner for Health, Ahmed Yahaya, it was clear that Sule’s priority in his administration included health and security.

The health commissioner in a welcome address during the handing-over ceremony at the edifice site recalled that the project was conceived in 2014 by Governor Sule’s predecessor.

According to Yahaya, “the projects were three in numbers and each was cited in the three senatorial zones. The model hospital we are handing over to the university is a 160 bed-capacity with full departmental activities to function as a model hospital. Those departments include medicine, surgery, orthopedic, accident and emergency, laboratory sciences, pharmacy and many more.

“It is indeed with a clear intention that this project was set up with N1.2 billion. Time didn’t permit your predecessor to make a true picture of what he desired to make. But I wish to let the public know that over N800 million was invested into this project.”

The commissioner added that the Nasarawa governor had clearly said it many times that all the projects that his predecessor had handed over to him, he will see to the end of them.

“Your predecessor has ceded the hospital to the university, and you have come to officially present it today,” he said.

The Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof Mohammed Sanusi Liman, said the entire community of the university lacks words to express its appreciation.
He said: “We will never forget what the Nasarawa State government has been doing to Federal University of Lafia. The state government donated vice chancellor’s lodge, registrar’s lodge, the former secretariat as the take-off of the university and has built a female hostel for the university.”

“The state government also supported us when we were struggling to establish College of Medicine in the Federal University of Lafia. The state government donated Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia as our Teaching Hospital.”

Consequently, as a reciprocal to the numerous benevolence the university has received from the government of Nasarawa State, the university on its part, promised to do the needful, Prof Liman said.

“I want to inform you that we have commenced the process of admitting students into MMBS, radiography, nursing, MMS, anatomy, physiology and the rest. And I assure you that Nasarawa State will get more than the 50 per cent you requested.

“If you find out, Nasarawa State is in control of the university. We are competing with the Nasarawa State University. In fact, if you go through our records, we have more of state indigenes in Federal University of Lafia than the Nasarawa State University,” the VC said.

He further disclosed to Sule that since his assumption of office, in order to encourage indigenes to have university education, he established remedial programme were 90 per cent of students were from Nasarawa State. Those who were successful in their JAMB examination were given admission in the university. “We will also establish IJMB programme where people can go, not necessarily Federal University of Lafia, after graduation. They can go to other universities,” he added.

“Federal University of Lafia will be a pride of Nasarawa State, just as we have seen in other states where the federal government has established institutions. It is their own if they want to make it their own, otherwise people can come from somewhere, because it is federal government properties, it will only be in your own state but other people will be taping from the benefits,” he restated.