Indications have emerged that services at the Ibom Specialist Hospital Uyo, may resume as the state government commences the review of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) sealed with the Consulting Firm, Cardiocare Medical Services Limited.
Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State gave the indication while briefing Government House correspondents on the circumstances that led to the suspension of services in the hospital.
Governor Emmanuel expressed shock at the abrupt suspension of services in the hospital saying that the state government had committed huge resources to ensure that the facility was fully operational even as it expected returns from the investment.
According to him, “every human being who invest in an asset expect a return be it in a social cost or services, the return may not be in terms of naira profit but there must be that social return and equity from people that would enjoy the services but once you deny me of this certainly you’ve not met the obligations”.
He added: “immediately I took over in 2015, we released 5million dollars to the hospital as take off working capital. I don’t say things behind, Dr Yemi Johnson is here, he can attest to this and I have vouchers to show evidence of payment. I expected to get a financial report within the first three months so when the management said the money has finished, i was alarmed because we did not have much on ground.
“I released another 250million naira because the manager assured me that the business was picking up and I gave the money believing that I am rendering social services to my people. Till today, I don’t know how the money was spent because there was no financial record from the hospital management.
” In the last quarter of 2015, i made available to the equipment suppliers the sum of 1 billion naira to keep the hospital running. In all these payment, the state government has not realised one naira as revenue from the hospital or received a month’s financial statement showing the financial status of the hospital.
“Early this year, they brought politics into it saying a Federal Government Agency (NDDC), donated a 500 KVA Generator to the hospital. I don’t play politics with development. Development of our people is paramount and I told the Commissioner we could use it as back-up to supply electricity in the hospital. The Generator was not working and we used one hundred and eighty three thousand naira to repair the set. Every month I supply about 60, 000 litres of Disel for the hospital use.
“In 2016, during the Reigners Bible Church Collapse, we flew in consultants and many other hospitals were involved in the management of the casulties. We released 50million naira as Payment on Account to keep the services running pending reconciliation. By first quarter of this year, I paid another 300 million naira to the equipment suplier. He stated ”
Governor Emmanuel explained that many of the consultants were not paid but he offered to retain their services by paying them through his office imprest and released the sum of 180 million naira to the hospital on the understanding that the facility would be running only to realised that the Quartenary Hospital had been shut, stressing that the management did not have the courtesy of informing either him or the Health Commissioner of their departure.
The Governor who regretted the suspension blamed the development on failure on the part of management saying “I’ve structured transactions all through my life but I need to be corrected on how Cardiocare Medical Services structured this transaction. It’s still something I don’t understand, the more I look the less I see, but in this case, we ‘re here to let people know that the hospital was not closed as being reported”.
He said that it was expedient to offer explanations to the people on whose mandate he is presiding over the affairs of the state and used the occasion to dismiss insinuations in some quarters that the health facility was shut, adding that the state government would review terms of the agreement.
“we needed to look at the current MOU and redraft a fresh one but if the new MOU does not favour Akwa Ibom people, i’ll look for new management. Once the right Administrator and Consultant takes over, the hospital would be managed properly. He affirmed”
Mr. Emmanuel who reiterated his administration’s determination to providing social services and execute development projects to improve on the living standard of the people assured that he would continue to promote the welfare of the citizens .
Earlier, the Consultant, Cardiocare Medical Services Limited, Dr Yemi Johnson, explained that the hospital suspended it operations because of unfavourable economic climate in the country, occasioned by fluctuations in the currency and attendant recession which forced investors to close shops in the last two quarters of the year.
Dr. Johnson stated that in view of the unfortunate scenario and difficulty experienced in making purchases as well as payment of expatriates, the previous model of agreement was not sustainable, hence a break in the hospital operations.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, in his submission, described Ibom Specialist Hospital as the best in the continent in terms of equipment and services, saying that it would amount to insensitivity on the party of government to close the medical facility built to international specifications to checkmate medical tourism in the country.
He pointed out that government was shopping for alternative management in case the reviewed agreement is not in the best interest of the state administration.
It would be recalled that services at the Quartenary Medical Center were suspended when the Consultant pulled out without explanations, creating room for speculations that the hospital may have been closed.