Paul Osuyi, Asaba
An unnamed traditional ruler from Delta Central senatorial district has been ordered out of his presumed palace by the Delta State government to enable the government to renovate an abandoned healthcare centre which the monarch illegally occupied.
Director General of the Delta State Contributory Health Commission (DSCHC), Dr. Ben Nkechika who made this known in Asaba on Monday, said the monarch had since vacated the facility following an order.
Dr. Nkechika who refused to disclose the identity of the traditional ruler, spoke shortly after the commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a non-governmental organisation, Pharmaccess Foundation and the Bank of Industry (BoI) for the renovation of 25 primary healthcare centres across the state.
Tagged ‘Access to Finance’ programme, Nkechika explained that the aim was to revitilise and operationalise the hitherto defunct healthcare facilities in a bid by the state government to achieve universal health coverage for all Deltans.
He said under the programme, private sector service operators would be handed over the “defunct and abandoned healthcare facility structures to Renovate, Operate and Transfer (ROT) back to the Delta State government at the end of a specified tenure with low-interest loan facility from the Bank of Industry.
“This innovative product will ensure availability of 24 hours quality healthcare services across the state for the Delta State Contributory Health Scheme, ensure continuity of healthcare services during strikes and other industrial disputes as well as more healthcare service options for residents of Delta State,” he explained further.
Signing the MoU on behalf of the state government, the chairman of the Contributory Health Commission, Dr. Isaac Akpoveta, noted that the objective is to encourage urban-rural drift in terms of healthcare services.
Akpoveta who allayed the fears of healthcare professionals assured that facilities will be provided in the chosen healthcare centres, adding that patients will be available to be attended to.
“We are taking equipment and professionals to the rural areas. We assure professionals that they will meet patients at the centres. And the state government will provide the funding through the commission. So they should not be afraid to go to the rural areas.
“This is an incentive for rural migration. The structures are there for utilisation. So, I want to appeal to the banks to stick to the agreement and release funds as much as possible,” Akpoveta stated.