The current pandemic globally, has made us see a shift and focus in healthcare system of countries around the world. The government of Nigeria and the states alike are not left out either in this new development. We have seen a revolution of COVID-19 testing centres and a massive improvement in the numbers of testing centres in the country at the beginning of outbreak, with the number rising from four to twenty-three testing centres and nineteen molecular laboratories nationwide. More are still under certification processes.
While we are happy about these commendable achievements, there is still room for improvement. But it seems very few are paying attention to life after COVID-19. Should state governors not be making sure the goodwill they are getting in this pandemic is sustained till after the end of the pandemic? Many are just making policies and directing resources into temporary solutions when really, they should be looking at the healthcare system after COVID-19.
Looking at all Nigerian governors, the Governor of Oyo State is already looking beyond the pandemic.
Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has made policies and moves that are indicating that he wants to keep the healthcare system breathing after COVID-19. Before the pandemic, the state had started improving the healthcare system by installing solar panels in some Primary Health Centres (PHCs) across the state. There had been renovations and equipment facelift to hospitals and clinics like the Adeoyo State Hospital, Ring Road, the Primary Healthcare Centre, Oranyan and LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso.
Now he is doing more and I want others to emulate him. First, he has made sure that PHCs operate smoothly so that they can face other health issues aside from COVID-19 or Lassa fever. Few weeks ago, the state’s insurance scheme secretary announced that they’ve taken delivery of some drugs and they’ve distributed them. Also, the state has accessed the donation made by a solar company which was involved in donating solar panels to PHCs across the country. Before the pandemic, the Oyo State Government made sure donations were made to PHCs that were not part of those that enjoyed the government’s first phase of solar panel installations.
More so, the governor has made sure the state has a sustainable molecular lab centre and is helping the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) get theirs certified. Not just that, the government has established the state’s first Infectious Disease Centre, Olodo, which would be used to tackle communicable diseases post COVID-19. Taking a look at how equipped the facility is, one will understand it’s not for a makeshift facility. The government is already talking about employing up to 40 doctors and 250 nurses to make the facility fully operational after the pandemic.
The most impressive and imitable gesture of the current government is how they’ve dedicated resources to modify other health facilities like the Agbami Chest Centre which was the isolation centre that housed the index case in Oyo State. With the ongoing upgrade, the Agbami Chest Centre will be better than what it was before COVID-19.
There was an initiative to set up a tent isolation facility in Adamasingba as revealed by the Federal Government when they said all stadiums should be turned to temporary isolation centres. But, Governor Seyi Makinde talked them into diverting the equipment to be used for the isolation centre to the ongoing rehabilitated of clinics in Igboora and other parts of the state.
So, instead of having a temporary facility in which beds, ventilators and other equipment will be displaced after COVID-19, we will rather have them domiciled in our PHCs to serve the people of Oyo State in the long-term duration.
This is the time for every state with meagre resources to think of a way to divert donations they’re getting presently to purposes that can be sustained and enjoyed in the long term. COVID-19 will come and go, the donations will cease, now is the time to think ahead and make sure we have better healthcare post COVID-19.
Stay safe everyone we shall overcome.