Re-Oxygen plant project brouhaha: Whose foresight?
By Dr. Suleiman Alege Atolagbe
In response to your publication dated 12th April 2020 demanding for an unwarranted apology, I humbly seek to re-affirm my position on the above subject matter.
Though, This is not a good time for me to be reacting to the unnecessary outburst of the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) position on my statements released some days ago because this is a trying time for the whole world, Nigeria and our peaceful state of harmony (Kwara State) as all Hands must be on desk to support efforts of present state government to ensure the safety of life of the good people of Kwara State at this period, as I stated on my Radio program on Albarka FM 89.9 discussion program on this pandemic twice in the last two weeks, secondly as a public Health manager, however I am force to reply to the conversation as follows:
1) The CPS is found of disparaging the achievement of the previous administration in the state in most of his press releases without setting the records straight, most especially, on the last issue of oxygen plant at Sobi Specialist Hospital, Hospital Services and Equipments
2) It would be a great disservice to my state, Kwarans and posterity will not forgive me if I keep mute when I knew efforts were made and accountable actions were taken to the development of our health system by the previous administration while health services are continuum
3) To mention my achievements as a commissioner through the support of the former Governor and other cabinet members just a few as follows:
a) The public Health Department being used today to deliver services during this period is my idea and making because of focus of happening today I wonder how this government would have worked successfully without the department
b) The operational approach and the commencement of the Kwara State Primary Health Care Development Agency by my move for the Appointment of the first Executive Secretary to start it operation in the state
c) The workings with 8th Kwara State House of Assembly on the need to move from Commendable Community Health Insurance Scheme to have a state Health Insurance Agency Bill, signed into law by the previous administration and I learnt if not because of the pandemic the present government want to leverage on it to launch a social status on it
d) Establishment and operation of the first state owned Dialysis Center in the whole of North Central at State General Hospital Ilorin for Renal patient in the state and the neighbouring states
e) Seeking of approval for Employment of Critical Medical Specialist in the state i.e. Nephrologist, Neurologist, Psychiatrist etc. which is not common with a state without a Teaching Hospital, I also advised the then governor to set up a Teaching Hospital Committee which he did, this administration can also move from that level
However, it is pathetic that a statement made on position of services rendered by previous administration to counter the press release on ‘oxygen plant’, equipments and services is bringing political reaction from CPS, even when we are not in campaign period but needs for good governance, any way it is on records that the CPS is not too comfortable with my comment on FreshInsight Platform and Kwara Commission Platform, where I proffer a suggestion to him on the policy on public health, in a situation like this, it is the Commissioner for Health and the State Epidemiologist through the technical committee to be allow to address the populace to give daily updates on the COVID-19 through the State Emergency Operation Center (EOC) as that is the practice in a civilized clan as seen across Nigeria. Subsequent upon which he can then work on the situation report given by the EOC, so as to be getting technical information and to allay people’s fear, not knowing that the advice does not go well with him, anyway no qualms.
However, my latter rejoinder
_“findings revealed that all other equipments were procured only the ventilator were stepped down for the reasons stated above”_
The above assertion and position was made to retract the earlier submission in paragraph 11a, 12 and 13 which was the true position of the fact on hospital equipments before the advent of this present administration, as posterity will not forgive me if I keep quiet over the previous administration’s achievements on health sectors and other visible projects, this trigger the initial press release on the denegation of previous administration’s achievements; I believe my comment is in the interest of people of Kwara State, good governance, equity and just.
Ventilator, yes, I know is not part of the plan but because of the crisis of COVID-19, resulted to buy from recovered fund as stated in the press release by the government. Moreover what of the world class diagnostic centre , the rehabilitated, upgraded and furnished hospitals , the standard airport , the High class rated Kwara State University (KWASU), Standard Laboratory Equipment etc. Hope for more ventilators to support the legacy of Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed’s achievements as government is continuum.
Finally let me also inform you, that I personally struggle with four states in Nigeria to bring the first Drug Resistance Tuberculosis Treatment Centre (DRTTC) to Sobi Specialist Hospital which is a Belgian Foundation ‘Damien project’ built, supported with equipment, drugs and training. So, the issue of any equipment in Health Sector in the state is essential and continuum as the previous administration has also done a lot on it.
I wish to state emphatically that as a Kwaran and a stakeholder, I have the right of opinion and position which although may differs in the course of good governance and accountability. In view of this, I humbly decline any apology since I have not committed no wrong and besides my comment is fair.
Stay Home, Stay Safe
Suleiman Atolagbe Alege, PhD
Fellow, Chattered Institute of Environmental and Public Health Management
Fellow, Institute of Strategic Management
14th April, 2020
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