National Assembly Pledges Quick Take-off of Orthopaedic Hospital in Jos

Seriki Adinoyi in Jos

House of Representatives Committee on Specialty Health Care has commended the acting Medical Director (MD) of the National Orthopedic Hospital, Jos, Prof. Icha Onche, for utilising the little resources available to him for so much achievement at the hospital, assuring that efforts are on top gear to ensure a quick take-off of operations at the hospital.

The committee which was in Jos, for oversight function also toured other health facilities and medical schools in Jos, to inspect the centres and assess the availability, adequacy and functionality of medical and training facilities, services, and personnel of the institutions.

It also measured the actual implementation of the 2023 Appropriation Act as approved by the National Assembly, detailed analysis of capital projects implementation and overhead releases, Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), staff nominal roll, and staff-to-students’ ratio.

 Addressing journalists after going round the Orthopaedic Hospital, Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Alex Egbona, said they had previous interaction with the Medical Director in Abuja, on the need for the take-off of the hospital for the benefit of the people.

He said, “So, the inspection of the facility became necessary to have first-hand assessment on progress of work and to see what needs to be done for a smooth take-off of the hospital for the benefit of our people.

“And to our surprise, despite the lean resources, the acting Medical Director has done well and as we go to Abuja, we are going to appeal to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to make sure more funds are released for this hospital to take-off in a short time.”

On his part, Onche expressed optimism for the quick take-off of the hospital, saying, “If you ask me when we will open our doors, I am hopeful for September, but I wish it could even be earlier.

 “For me, orthopaedics is a passion and a lifestyle. I am fully committed and willing to sacrifice everything to ensure the hospital takes off successfully. Thereafter, I can rest knowing I have done my part.”

The MD appreciated the Governor of Plateau State, Caleb Mutfwang and former deputy speaker of House of Representatives for their interventions leading to progress of work at the hospital.

 He said, “Fortunately, when the Deputy Speaker was in office, he generously provided us with an intervention fund of N400 million, which was domiciled in the Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) account since we were none-existence then, and this fund went a long way in supporting the renovation exercise.

“The governor of Plateau State has also been very supportive, overseeing internal network projects with significant funding. We are very grateful for his support and encouragement.”

He, however, observed that the inflation between December 2023 and March 2024, made the contract sum insufficient.

“When the contract was awarded in September last year, it was for N437 million (already creating a deficit of N37 million). And with the current inflation rate, the contractor has abandoned the site in the last six weeks.

 “I had to report this to my ministry, and the Permanent Secretary visited us to see the situation first-hand. The Rt. Honorable Deputy Speaker also visited to see how his intervention fund was being utilized. We are very grateful for these visits and the attention given to our hospital.”

He said the Egbonna’s committee has also been very supportive, stressing that the Committee thoroughly inspected every aspect of the hospital.

“We have completed a Bill of Quantities (BOQ) outlining the extent of work done, the work left, and the costs needed to complete the renovation. The Ministry of Health and Social Services has this information. We also plan to approach the governor of Plateau State once more for further intervention to complete our work,” he added.

The MD also appreciated the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare for being supportive.

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