From Maduabuchi Mnmeribeh, Kano
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole on Wednesday in Kano tasked other state Governors to emulate Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje’s sterling performance in the health sector.
Adewole who stated this during the launching of seven health intervention programmes of Kano state government at Muhammadu Buhari Specialist Hospital, Gingiyu, admitted that Ganduje has done so well to reposition the health sector and ensure adequate healthcare delivery in the state.
According to him, “while other state governments are running to us for help, Kano is asking us to come and appreciate what they are doing.”
He further stated that, “this is an occasion to especially appreciate you (Ganduje) for your contributions to health, particularly in Kano and in Nigeria.
“You are a true trail-blazer when it comes to true healthcare delivery. And among your peers, you are a first among equals and those, who speak Latin, will call you, primus interparis, and you are also Noli secondi and you are not second to anybody.
“So, Your Excellency, I have to commend you and I have had occasions to publicly commend you at the Federal Executive Council meeting and asked other governors to emulate you. With Governors like you, my job is made easier because other governors would be calling on the Honourable Minister to come and help us but the message from Kano, is come and see what we are doing.
“I have to publicly thank you. I was here to inspect this facility about six months ago and I described it as one of the best I have ever seen in a developing countries.
“Your Excellency, you are also a listening Governor because when I came here, I made some recommendations and you listened and acted to those recommendations.
“So I want to thank you. It is also important to put it in public perspective that this facility must be operated on a different platform.
“We cannot run it as we do other facilities. I advise and I am saying it publicly for the benefit of my brother, the Chairman of NLC that this facility must be run by an independent Board and those, who work here could be seconded from other places to work here and I also recommended Your Excellency, workers here must not go on strike, two, they must be paid higher than other workers so that they are encouraged to do their best.
“They must be prepared to work 24-7. So, pay them well and they too will deliver to the best of their ability and I am sure that my brother, who is the Chair of the Board will deliver to the best of his ability.
“I am speaking about Dr Aminu Magashi, I know him by reputation and we worked together more at the international level.
“Your Excellency, in a nutshell, we are here to commission a package of activities and programmes. We are to launch your access to Contributory Health Insurance Scheme. We are here for the inauguration of the Board of the Specialist Hospitals and also, the Board of the Kano Health Trust Fund, which is quite a an innovative approach.”
In his address, Governor Ganduje said the main idea behind the establishment of the Specialist hospital was to curtail the menace of medical tourism abroad.
According to him, “we are here to witness a dream that has become a reality. We have been dreaming to provide healthcare care services to the people of Kano State, so that we serve the people of Kano State, we serve the people of Nigeria, as well as serve the people of the world.
“And this hospital signifies what I have just mentioned. Our intention is not only to serve the people of Kano but to make Kano a medical tourism destination in order to reduce the prevalence of people going abroad for medical attention, people going to India, China, Europe, America and even some African countries.
“We want to reduce that because Nigeria is the biggest country in Africa, Nigeria must be the strongest country in Africa and Nigeria must be the focal point of Africa. And we believe by providing this edifice, we are heading to that. When we started and completed this project to a logical conclusion, I made it clear that the management of thus hospital would not be business as usual.
“We have just come out from a national strike by health workers , which culminated from the national level. And a sympathy strike was conducted by various states in the federation and if we allow this hospital to be managed as business as usual, it means that one day, all the staff would go on strike.
“And people coming from all over the country to this hospital will feel discouraged and those patients will be disadvantaged and our sophisticated equipment in the hospital may be paralyzed and this situation, we shall not allow and this would not happen by the grace of God! That is why we decided to make a law governing the board and appoint competent people to manage the hospital.
“So, I believe we have already started receiving patients from all over the country. On patient, who came here was referred to four federal health institutions and at the close of the day, he was referred to Kano and that patient is now with us and has got the services.
“Even a patient, who was operated in Dubai, for the follow-up, he was referred to this hospital in writing and that is not what we planned for. Ladies and gentlemen, another issue is to provide health services to the majority people of Kano state. And this cannot be possible until we institutionalize the system, that is why we have taken one segment of our population, that is the civil service, the public service, held various meetings and dialogued with them. Finally, the Civil Servants have agreed that we should operate a contributory health scheme system. It is a very difficult system to manage.
“But we are determined and must make sure that this programme succeeds. If it succeeds, the Federal Government would be happy with the system because the Federal Government started the programme and is finding it difficult very difficult to have a 100 per cent implementation of the programme. So, we would do all what we can do to protect the interest of our Civil Servants, to protect our funds and the protect the funds from other organizations. We intend to graduate to the Private Sector and if we succeed, we will move the system to the Private sector and if we succeed, we will move it to the Communities, so that health services are been accessible by all.
“And that is our mission. Another important programme that is inaugurated today is the healthcare Trust Fund. Whatever you do, you must plan for sustainability because of the dwindling financial and economic situation in the country. We decided we institutionalize the way we receive money and the way we disburse this money to the various healthcare institutions to ensure sustainability.
“We requested our state Assembly to enact a law, which I have signed and the State Government has improved its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and five per cent of that revenue every month will be taken out and deposited to this fund. And one per cent from the 44 Local Government income from the federation account would go to the basket. They are other areas that would encroach later but we will start gradually, so that the sustainability would be confirmed.
“And this one too would be a very concrete arrangement for funding our health services. As a cosmopolitan and mega city and the most populous in the federation, we have so many private institutions coming up and in order to regulate their activities, we created an agency that will oversee their functions, their management, their environment and the fees they charge and of course we will also get revenue from them.”
In his speech, the Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi 11 said, “this hospital is one in which all of us from Kano are proud of. And it is one of the symbols or indicators of the commitment of the State to healthcare. I also noted that all the projects been launched today, represent what you might call a local agenda.
“Very often, we are part of other agendas, people come and they have priorities and we join them. But when you look at malaria, when you look at funding for healthcare, when you look at providing healthcare to rural communities on wheels, when you look at breast cancer, testing for the poor, you have to acknowledge that this go to the heart of the principal healthcare challenges that we face.
“They therefore represent an acknowledgment that the state is into and focuses on them. And we pray that this will continue and we pray that Kano state would become the leading state, as far as healthcare is concerned for the poor.
“We would like to encourage the government to continue but also encourage every citizen of Kano, not to leave healthcare and education to the government. We all have a responsibility to contribute in whatever way we can in building hospitals, training Doctors , nurses, funding medical expenses for the poor, as well as funding Diagnostic centres.
“And I hope that all those businessmen in Kano would make education, healthcare and nutrition the priority for all their good deeds, all their charity and all their assistance to the poor.”
Source: The Authority News