BusinessDay

Rivers can’t afford 3 new tertiary hospitals

… as governor turns down MDCN’s request

Rivers State cannot afford the establishment of three new tertiary hospitals in the state, Governor Nyesom Wike has stated. This is as the governor on Monday sacked his commissioner of health for allegedly embarrassing him.

Governor Wike disclosed both the inability to set up new hospitals and the sack of his health commissioner when the leadership of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) paid him a visit.

The governor said the request by the MDCN that state governors should establish one tertiary hospital in each of their senatorial districts would not be realisable due to paucity of funds.

He said Nigerians were fond of requesting for what was not feasible or pushing things into the budget when there was obviously no funds for such a thing.

The governor explained that in a bid to improve citizens’ access to quality healthcare service delivery, his administration had embarked on construction of some zonal hospitals in Bori, Degema, Etche, Ahoada and Omoku.

He further stated that his administration had also invested huge amounts of resources in promoting medical education in the state, particularly with the establishment of the Rivers State University College of Medical Sciences and the annual award of scholarship to 130 indigenes studying medicine at PAMO University of Medical Sciences.

“You’ll agree that I have provided the necessary funds for all whatever you requested to give a standard medical college. Our partnership with PAMO is very interesting. In fact, every year the Rivers State government offers scholarships to indigenes. This year we have approved 130.”

The governor used the occasion to canvas for the reduction of the money the Federal government gets from federation accounts to enable the States to have more resources to drive their development.

The governor said States should be allowed to fix the amount they can afford to pay their workers, including medical personnel. He contended that one of the banes of the country’s federal system is the attempt to foist a uniform salary structure on the entire country.

Read also: Health taxes can revamp Nigeria’s health sector- HFN President

“If we don’t want to run true federalism, we should leave it. I can’t sit here as governor of a state, you go to the Federal Government to negotiate, you come and give me a sign, I will not sign.”

The governor announced the sack of the commissioner of health, Princewill Chike, a professor, allegedly for not seeking the state government’s approval to host the preliminary session of Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria in Port Harcourt.

The governor described the action as most embarrassing, announcing the sack when the chairman of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria, Abba Wasiri Hassan, paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Monday.

The governor explained that the Rivers State government never requested to host the preliminary session of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria in Port Harcourt. And stressed that the commissioner of health erred to have unilaterally scheduled to host the MDCN event at the same time when the state government is commissioning and flagging off projects.

“Frankly speaking, I have never seen an embarrassment like this in my life. Everybody knows that it is not my nature to bring people and you cannot attend to them or host. So, whoever has done this will suffer for it.”

Chairman of MDCN had explained that they were in Rivers State for the ninth preliminary session of the council.

He commended Wike for his positive attitude towards healthcare and medical delivery services in the state, particularly the huge investment in the state University College of Medical Sciences, award of scholarship to indigenes of the state studying medicine and the construction of world class Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centre in Port Harcourt.

The MDCN chairman urged governors to consider investing in tertiary hospitals in each of the senatorial districts in the country in order to increase the number of hospitals available for the training of house officers and to check medical tourism.

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