About two weeks ago, a study by WellNewMe, a top health technology company that specializes in data gathering and analysing in Nigeria, ranked Osun State as the second state with most efficient healthcare delivery in Nigeria.
The accompany uses the World Health Organization Standard parameters in gauging the health system. The parameters includes steady financing mechanism, a properly-trained and adequately-paid workforce, well-maintained facilities and access to reliable information that will keep the delivery updated with international best practices. In total sum, Osun was only surpassed by Anambra State.
As a resident of the state, who is aware of the crisis that trailed a comment made by one of the Senators at the national assembly, precisely, Osun East Lawmaker, Francis Fadahunsi on the twenty million US dollars grant for revitalization of the health system in the state, I personally swung into action. The mission was simply to fact-check the report of WellNewMe.
I chose three communities outside the state capital and they all belong to semi-urban and rural areas. My decision to leave, Osogbo the state capital where I work and largely stay is to know if those in rural areas are captured in the quality healthcare that’s reportedly been enjoyed by Osun people, if true at all.
Let me say that it took me several days before I could gather my facts across the three communities.
Healthcare delivery in Osun has been the major achievements that Governor Gboyega Oyetola boast of in his first year in office. It’s obvious that several dilapidated building or better put, death abode called health centers have taken new look. Everyone sees that that. What of the content? Are they experiencing new touches? And most importantly, the output, which is the service to the populace.
These are the sub-areas I added to my theme in order to get to the root of the matter. My first experience was when there was an accident in Ilobu, my hometown. It involves an Okada rider and a pedestrian. The two got injured. As someone who has been in the area for several years, such a situation are expected to be taken to private hospitals in the area as it has been the practice. But these were taken to PHC and the treatment and availability of necessary drugs, equipment and staff were cause for people to accidentally got into discussion around Oyetola’s achievements in health sector.
One man said, “although I don’t like Oyetola but this healthcare revitalization is good. Don’t you know how much Anuolu will bill this people?” Another person interjected, “especially when it’s accident.” The conversation outlived my presence at the scene.
At hospitals where I went, I ensured I mix with those on ground. Both the care givers and their patients. This was to ensure I get adequate information that I wanted and in fairness, they unanimously thanked the governor for the health care revitalization.
At one of the health centers, the matron who I met said, “seriously things have changed in the last eighteen months. They (government) give us regular supply of drugs and other materials. We don’t run out of it before they give us and as you can see it has increased the patronage by over 100%.” When asked about their welfare, the madam said, “that’s why we are thanking the governor. Our salaries come regularly and not half as it used to be before Oyetola. Just help us tell them that they are owning us fifteen months salaries (half in 30 months).”
In another hospital in the Central Senatorial District, the nurses on duty, four of them also praised the Governor. In fact one happened to be from my family compound, so that made her to be free while talking to my team. She said “in fact, it’s another life. It wasn’t like this before. The hospital is very active now. We now have over 80% increment in patronage. The ante-natal has increased and I can tell you Aburo (younger brother) maternal mortality is becoming a thing of past.”
When asked about welfare, she said, “the government has implemented COHESS but let me say that our PAYE (pay as you earn) is becoming too much. About 12,000 naira was deducted from my salary this month. Imagine!”
The narrative was the same in all other hospitals visited. Only that some complained of being short-staffed and needed more furniture for office uses. All of them said have remained at the same level since 2010. Promotion on paper but not on salaries. To confirm these statements of their, I checked their records and they tallied with their statements.
Before I’ll address the challenges highlighted, I think I should concur with WellNewMe on the standard of healthcare delivery in Osun and also give kudos to Governor Gboyega Oyetola. It shows the investment was in the right direction and it’s now yielding expected results. If we can have it like this at the federal level, maybe the ongoing EndSARS protest wouldn’t have been this intensified.
With these testimonies from the healthcare givers and receivers, it’s safe to say Osun is getting right in health sector. If our Governor can also choose another sector and work on it in his third year because obviously, second year is gone, we may say we’re getting it right. The intracity roads are calling for your attention sir. People going to hospital will also pass through roads. Kindly look into that.
To the issues raised on promotion and insufficient staff, I want to believe that no one will be happy being at a spot for ten years. And Mr Governor sir, after you’ve revitalized the system, you should be expecting a spike in the healthcare patronage. This simply means, more hands will be needed. Kindly let’s have a total overhaul and I believe the result will be greater. Graduates are leaving NYSC on yearly basis, please get them engaged. On the suffocating PAYE, I think it would be better to listen to investigate it and probably, enlighten them workers on why, if intentional or give room for complaint if accidental.