By Dayo Johnson, South-West Editor
HEALTHCARE delivery system in Ondo State between 1999 and 2009 witnessed rather a slow development because no special attention was given to it by the administrations of both late governors Adebayo Adefarati and Olusegun Agagu.
Aside the normal budgetary allocations to all the sectors, the health sector was not given any special attention by the duo.
While Adefarati focused more on education Agagu keyed into infrastructural development of the state. The health sector was treated like any other in the economy. However, things changed when Governor Olusegun Mimiko, a medical doctor, assumed office. He performed excellently by changing the face of the sector and received both local and international awards and accolades.
Mimiko established the Abiye project, a breakthrough and health interventionist initiative known as Safe Motherhood project for pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under five years of age. He conceived the project against the backdrop of inadequate and overstretched health facilities coupled with the World Bank’s declaration that Ondo State had the worst health indices in the South-West in 2009.
Under this programme, pregnant women receive free medicare from conception to delivery including free Caesarian Section. Children under five years also receive free treatment. The pregnant woman right from the day she registers, is attached to a health ranger for close monitoring. She is given a mobile phone loaded with credit on the bill of the state government, thus enabling her to seek and receive constant medical attention anywhere she may be even in the state.
The Health Rangers are mobilized with branded motorcycles or tricycles with which they traverse their designated areas. While on the move the health rangers are equipped with First-Aid kits with which they treat common ailments such as malaria, diarrhoea and respiratory tract infection.
Each Health Ranger is assigned to an average of 20 pregnant women. They ensure they attend their antenatal clinics and take their medications regularly. The ultimate goal and measure of success of each ranger is for the safety and good health of mother and child at delivery. This care continues until the child is five.
Mimiko within his first year in office built and commissioned the Mother and Child Hospital in Akure on February 27, 2010, as the premier purpose-built, state-of-the-art 100 bed facility dedicated to the care of pregnant women and children under five, and offering tertiary level health services free of charge.
The achievements and innovations at the Mother and Child Hospital Akure include the reduction in child and maternal mortality by 70 per cent, managing and discharging routine post-vaginal delivery patients within 24 hours and post-ceaserian section patients within 48 hours without compromising on the quality of care, thereby reducing cost of care and work load per patient. It increased patient turnover by more than 100 per cent simultaneously, developing a unique and cost effective digitalized drug procurement that has practically eradicated out-of-drug syndrome, the bane of many free health schemes across the world
Reports had it that within the first year, total registration was 45,021; under-five registration, 25,600; Under-five admission was 8,485; antenatal clinic registration 17,913; antenatal, clinic admission 18,959; total deliveries 10,180; normal deliveries 7,855; caesarean Section, C/S, 2,325; laparotomy 168; Gynaecological surgeries 123; cervical Cancer Screening 919; and post Partum IUCD Insertion was 115.
Improving routine immunization
To protect all children in Ondo State from Vaccine Preventable Diseases,VPDs, and in line with the WHO and UNICEF’s goal of improving routine immunization, Mimiko launched “Ondo State Routine Immunization Reaching Every Ward Always- ORIREWA Under the Festival of Surgery, no fewer than 1,000 persons were relived of the burden of surgically amendable diseases like cataract, hyena, hidrosis among others.
Mimiko went further to establish the Ondo State Trauma and Surgical Centre located within the Medical Village in Ondo Town about four kilometres from Akure and 116 kilometres from Benin. The centre provides world-class tertiary comprehensive surgical services. The Medical Village also plays host to the Mother and Child Hospital, Kidney Care Centre, the Gani Fawehinmi Diagnostic Centre and the University of Medical Sciences (first of its kind in Africa). There is also a state-of-the-art emergency Communication Centre, a Histopathology and Forensic Centre which are yet to fully take off.
The Trauma Centre liaises closely with sister hospitals; Ondo State Kidney Care Centre, Gani Fawehinmi Diagnostic services and Mother and Child Hospital with which Mimiko Government constitute a Medical Village for ancillary support services including Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Paediatrics, Radiology and Laboratory support.
To further straighten the emergency medical services, the state government established Ondo State Emergency Medical Services Agency, ODEMSA, to provide emergency rescue, pre-hospital and hospital services to road crash victims in the state. Five functional Accident Rescue Stations along the highways were built at Ore, Bolorunduro, Ilara, Owo and Oka-Akoko. 100 Extricators and 100 paramedics work 24 hours in all the stations and the response time to accident scenes is 15 minutes. Each station has an Advanced Life Support Vehicle equipped with oxygen and other essentials needed to sustain accident victims while they are being conveyed to the nearest hospital or the Trauma Centre.
On assumption of office in 2017, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu told the people of the state that “the health care delivery system currently operating in the state will be sustained and improved upon. We shall adopt a deliberate policy to ensure that our people have access to health care regardless of their social status. We intend, within the available resources, to provide qualitative primary health care delivery system to the rural populace. Health care centres in the rural areas will be accessible and functional.”
For the purpose of taking healthcare delivery to the door steps of all residents, Akeredolu liaised with the World Bank to facilitate $500,000 grant to enhance primary healthcare across all the 18 local government areas of the state. This move attracted the benevolence of the People’s Republic of China which donated 40 imaging medical items to the state medical village in Ondo town. Similarly, the governor secured a $6 million (about N2.1 billion) worth of new medical equipment from MedShare, an Atlanta, U.S.-based non-profit organisation.
Governor Akeredolu followed up the success with the distribution of another set of multi-million naira medical equipment to 300 primary healthcare facilities across the 18 local government areas of the state. The equipment include: 300 units of Children Ambu-bag, 60 units of Adult Ambu-bag, 300 Units of Baby weighing scale, 300 Units of Blood pressure apparatus, 300 Units of Stethoscope, 301 Units of Angle poise Examination light, 18 Units of Anti – Shock garment and 300 Units of Penguin suction device among several others.
Other achievements include, increasing the number of Mother and Child Hospitals from two to seven, building Critical Care Unit, CCU, at UNIMED Teaching Hospital, Akure, 100-bed General Hospital in Ifon and Construction of new Ultra-modern Teaching Hospitals in Ondo and Akure. Last year, multi million naira worth of medical equipment were distributed by the state government to 300 Primary Health Care Centres across the state.
Akeredolu who said it was his administration’s modest way of adding value and strengthening Primary Healthcare delivery in the State promised more phases “until the Primary Healthcare system in the State becomes a reference point in qualitative Maternal, Neo-natal and Child Healthcare in the country. The Executive Secretary of the Primary Health Care Development Board, Dr. Francis Akanbienu said currently the state has over 576 functional health centres and there plans to build more.