In the past three and a half years, we have experienced a decline in the health indices of our people in Ondo state. The present administration has turned the state’s health care system into a revenue-generating business for his cronies. The free medicare services in our hospitals were scrapped and for the first time in the history of Ondo state, we witnessed patients and pregnant women protesting the exorbitant charges levied on them in the state-owned hospitals.
It is extremely difficult for a sane mind to understand the rationale behind turning our healthcare system into a revenue-generating business. It is generally believed the world over that there are basic and essential needs of life that should not be taxed or made revenue-generating enterprises by a government, because every revenue generated by the government is supposed to be channeled towards providing these essential services to the citizenry. Such essential services include healthcare, education, and food.As we approach the October 10, 2020, gubernatorial election in Ondo State, we must analyze what Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), will do differently in improving our healthcare system and making the people of Ondo State live healthier, if elected as the governor of Ondo State.
Firstly, Eyitayo will democratize our health care system and declare health care as an essential service that must be made accessible to all residents of Ondo State irrespective of their social status. Eyitayo will prioritize the health care of the vulnerable by giving under 5 and pregnant women free access to public health care services. Public hospitals shall not be for revenue generation; rather, every fund generated from the hospitals will be used to complement government subvention to the hospitals and for the replenishment of the consumables. Our children’s health and pregnant women’s health will be largely covered by our government’s free services, including immunization and health education.
Eyitayo took note of some communities that are cut off of basic medical equipment, especially the communities that are far from the state capital. Such a town is Igbekebo, in the whole of Ese-Odo local government, where there is no functional ultrasound scanning that can be used by our doctors to make an emergency diagnosis for a patient who is in labor or a patient with ruptured ectopic pregnancy or acute intestinal obstruction where time is of the essence and where ultra-sound is an important diagnostic tool.
The people of Ese-Odo local government have to be transported to another local government to access such a basic service. Other examples are the people of Idoani in Ose LG who have to go to Ikare-Akoko or Oka-Akoko for basic medical investigations even in an emergency. Also, all the people from Akoko SouthEast are suffering the same fate. We can only imagine how many lives have been lost in the process. Eyitayo administration, when elected, will ensure that all our hospitals are adequately equipped, both in terms of human capacity and equipment-wise.
Eyitayo also knows that a reasonable government has to incentivize health workers who are willing to work in remote communities for adequate health care delivery for every resident of Ondo state.PDP government will institutionalize women’s health preventive care. We understand breast cancer and cervical cancer are the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in women. Eyitayo government is determined to fight this scourge with a scientifically proven method of preventing and early detection of these diseases. The present administration is ‘promoting’ self-breast examination but has done nothing to help people who accidentally detect breast lumps or even those with obvious breast cancers. It is worthy of note that self-breast examination is not effective as this brings unwarranted anxiety, compulsion, and also, by the time a malignant lump is detected, it may be too late.
Eyitayo will institutionalize free two-yearly breast cancer screening with mammography and breast scan for early detection of breast cancer in women between 50 years of age to 74 years, and women with familial risk factors can enroll to the program at an earlier age. The government will also make available definitive diagnosis procedure and also treatment when cancer is detected.
Eyitayo will promote a free twice per year cervical screening program for women who are sexually active from the age of 20 years. Also, further treatment will be made available if changes suggestive of cancer are detected in cervical screening tests.The Eyitayo preventive women’s health care program will be voluntary and this is the scientific way of combating breast and cervical cancer and achieving this is not expensive for our state when there is political will.
On emergency services, Eyitayo and the PDP take note of the lack of well-coordinated ambulance services in Ondo State. This has caused uncountable lives. Tackling the problem of ambulance services has to be well-coordinated. Eyitayo will encourage well-meaning people with integrity to form the Ambulance Club of Ondo State. Every well-meaning resident of Ondo to be a financial member of the club. This will complement the government’s financial support.
The administration of the club will be made open to the public and the mission of the club will be to make ambulance services available 24/7 within 10 munites of call in every part of Ondo State.Eyitayo acknowledged that many lives are being lost daily on the current “no pay, no service” approach of the current administration on medical emergencies. Medical emergencies are always not planned and money should not be a factor for saving lives in an emergency situation. Eyitayo will ensure that money is not requested before attending to emergency situations until the patient is stabilized. Eyitayo administration, if elected, will always ensure that the consumables needed for emergencies are always available for emergency purposes. However, the government will establish a debt recovery committee and social workers whose responsibilities will be debt recovery and objective assessment of indigent patients who may benefit from indigent patient’s funds.
Men’s health has always been neglected by successive administrations in Ondo State. We will prioritize men’s health by creating awareness on prostate cancer and also commence free routine twice-per-year bowel cancer examination for every Ondo resident from 50 years of age. It is a simple test called the FOBT. This test is cheap and can detect early bowel cancer for immediate treatment.
Enhancing a patient-centered approach in the treatment of all residents of Ondo state in our public health facilities will be our priority. Every resident of Ondo State deserves to be treated with respect by all workers in our health facilities. Every resident has the right to complain if they feel they are being treated unfairly. We will create a channel for giving feedback and complaints about all the services provided in our hospitals and also, all the health and medical workers shall be adequately trained on the patient-centered treatment approach.
Eyitayo will combat the issue of child sexual abuse and rape by making it an obligation for all health workers and teachers who suspect child sexual abuse to report to the authority. This obligation will be mandatory for every suspected child abuse cases for further investigation by the child protection authorities. However, cases of rape involving adults will not be an obligation for health care providers to report: health providers will advise victims to lodge formal complaints.
Eyitayo believes that for a better quality of life of our people, we will need to find a means for mass health education of our people. Also, people who usually withness accidents due to their nature of their work will be encouraged to undergo government-funded training on first aid for them to have more knowledge on ways to save lives in cases of accidents or medical emergencies before getting to the hospital or before the arrival of an ambulance.
Eyitayo will further strengthen the immunization base for our children for the prevention of deadly diseases. Reducing maternal mortality rate and child mortality rate to the lowest in Africa will be our ultimate health priority. He will expand our current health facilities and encourage teaching and researches in our teaching hospitals and medical universitiy.
Vote Eyitayo Jegede for your comprehensive and family-oriented health policies.
Dr. Femi Ayodele is a Former Honourable MemberOndo State Hospital Management Board, Akure.