The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the upcoming Edo State governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has assured physicians in the State of his commitment to repositioning the State’s healthcare system in accordance with the policy prescriptions of his manifesto – the “SIMPLE Agenda” – if he is elected into office on September 19.
He gave the assurance during an interactive session with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Benin City, disclosing that the security aspect of his “SIMPLE Agenda” covers how his administration would ensure the safety and security of all Edo health workers and facilities.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu added that his social welfare policy will prioritise healthcare for all citizens, particularly pregnant women and infants, by providing free medical services to them.
Speaking on infrastructural development and urban renewal, Ize-Iyamu said his plans are to ‘massively transform our medical facilities across the State by making them not only functional but attractive so that doctors and nurses and even patients can have a conducive environment all to together.’
On manpower development and training, the APC candidate said his government would place greater emphasis on the training and retraining of medical doctors and nurses ‘to achieve maximum performance’ by utilising the opportunity provided by the University of Benin Teaching Hospital in Benin.
‘Government can’t do it all, so we intend to partner with medical practitioners in the area of Public Private Partnership in the “SIMPLE Agenda”‘, and ‘with private individuals in the supply of medical equipment to equip our hospitals. We will also collaborate with private hospitals and work out ways we can co-operate. For example, government needs to partner with UBTH, which has enormous medical clout, though it is a federal hospital. Not only UBTH, what type of support has the State Government given to Irrua Teaching Hospital?.’
On the “SIMPLE Agenda’s” mandate of leadership by example, Ize-Iyamu said: ‘We intend to also ensure transparency and accountability in government, respect the rule of law and equally be interested in the funding of our hospitals as the current state of our hospitals are unacceptable.
‘In a place like Central Hospital for example, you will be shocked to hear that the Internally generated revenue on a monthly basis is close to N40 million but what government gives them is N4 million, which is barely 10% of what they generate: this isn’t reasonable at all. Therefore, government must have a deliberate policy to ensure that funds are available, at least a reasonable amount for them to run effectively,’ he said.
He explained that the “SIMPLE Agenda’s” policy on Employment and Social Empowerment means that more doctors must be engaged while the State School of Nursing, which has been under lock and key for more than three years by Governor Godwin Obaseki, will be reopened within his first three months in office.
He said with such a school, Edo cannot be looking for nurses outside the State to work in its hospitals, adding that he also intends to engage more Specialist Doctors and Nurses, especially for the healthcare centres in the local governments.
Asked how he intends to improve manpower in the health sector, Pastor Ize-Iyamu said with most hospitals facing huge shortage of medical personnel, ‘we will conduct an all-encompassing audit, analyse the needs and take stock of our healthcare facilities across the state, identify the challenges, and overhaul the system.
‘I understand there are some hospitals already built but yet to be opened, for example in Otuo, Owan East Local Government Area. This means that doctors and nurses will be needed to reopen and operate the hospitals.’