By Paulinus Nsirim
The administration of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike delivered another amazing project in fulfillment of its promise to provide quality healthcare to Rivers people, when the ultra-modern Government House Clinic and Administrative Building was commissioned by former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki on Friday, March 5, 2021.
The commissioning of this state-of-the- art Clinic further consolidated the excellent achievements of Governor Wike’s administration in the Health sector.
This is coming strongly on the heels of the historic release of N16.6 billion to the Rivers State University, out of which about N7.6billion has also been earmarked for the establishment of the College of Medical Sciences, Faculties of Basic Medical Sciences, Clinical Sciences and Pathology Building at the same institution.
In addition, the State Government has also established a scholarship scheme for Rivers indigenes studying at PAMO University of Medical Sciences, meant to enable them and other Nigerians access to medical education in the state.
This development will not only assist to reduce the gaps in the doctor to patient ratio in the state, but there is great confidence and optimism that in the next few years, Rivers State will play a major role in producing medical manpower for the whole of Nigeria.
Furthermore, the fund to RSU College of Medical Sciences would not only enable the College to establish more faculties, but it will also fully commence its programme leading to the award of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), which in turn, would greatly strengthen accredited departments and those due for accreditation at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
Rivers Health sector watchers will confirm that the administration of Governor Wike practically declared a state of emergency on the nearly comatose health sector of the state, when he assumed office in May, 2015.
The workforce in the primary healthcare community was on strike, and the secondary health care sector was either shut down or facilities were dilapidated.
Governor Wike quickly swung into action with his characteristic energy and proactive leadership style by first recalling the striking Primary Health workers to work and also paid House Officers at the then Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital (BMSH) their outstanding dues and allowances, deliberately owed them for months by the previous administration.
Five years down the line, Governor Wike has gradually but steadily overhauled the healthcare system in the state, both in infrastructure and human capacity development, with training initiatives supported by various development partners, as well as the regular supportive supervision that has been conducted on healthcare facilities at all levels in the state.
Renovations and upgrades of major hospital structures and facilities have been quite regular too and many will recall with satisfaction, the approval given by the Rivers State Executive Council in October last year for the immediate reactivation of the Kelsey Harrison Hospital and the Dental and Maxillofacial Hospital in the State, as well as the promise that one of the marquee projects of this administration, the 250 bed space Mother and Child specialist hospital is already lined up for commissioning soon.
The teaser for this new, state-of -the-art Government House clinic had already been dropped by several high profile visitors to Rivers State in recent times, but nobody captured the magnificence and importance of this clinic better than former Governor of Imo state and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Senator Rochas Okorocha, after he was taken on a guided tour of the facility by his host, Governor Wike.
Senator Okorocha, who was then in Rivers State to inaugurate the Rumuche/Rumuakunde/Ohna Awuse Link Road in Emohua Local Government Area had observed that the facility is a typical German standard hospital with latest health equipment that can address critical health challenges, and located in a serene environment. He then described the Clinic as a top class health facility that can provide quality health service most people seek abroad and most importantly, encourage and enhance medical tourism in the state.
He said: “This can only be seen here. It is a top class hospital, the kind you can find abroad. It is a typical German standard hospital with the equipment that I have seen here. Hospitals are determined by the equipment they carry. All the latest equipment that take you abroad for medical tourism are all here. Nigerians should take advantage of this place rather than spending millions travelling abroad. I commend Governor Wike for a job well done,” he had enthused.
Commissioning the Government House Clinic, which of course, is another major infrastructural edifice by the Governor Wike administration, to compliment the upgrades of several General Hospitals and other strategic interventions delivered so far in the Health sector, former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, himself a distinguished Medical Doctor, lauded Governor Wike for investing in critical infrastructure such as healthcare which is very important in reduction of poverty.
He added that the Rivers Governor’s efforts, actions and successes in governance has clearly distinguished him as an ambassador of the PDP in Nigeria.
“I believe that this Clinic is not only for the people of Rivers State, it is for the entire people of the country and for the whole African continent.”
Speaking in the same vein, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Engineer Emeka Woke, said anyone who visited the Government House a year ago would be astounded by the transformation that has taken place within this short period. According to him, it only takes a visionary leader to achieve this feat.
The State Commissioner of Health, Professor Princewill Chike, however gave a comprehensive summary of the impressive components of the new clinic thus:
“The Clinic is fully equiped with Operating Theater, with a Monitored Recovery Room; C-Arm for Fluroscopy; Top End Anesthesia Ventilator and Equipment; One Fully Equiped ICU ROOM with Isolation requirements, latest ventilator and monitoring system; two Emergency Rooms, with Oxygen and Compressed Air outlets, monitoring, defibrillator and portable ventilator; Consultation Rooms; fully equipped Endoscopy Suite for intervention in all endoscopes (gastroscopy, colonoscopy and bronchoscopy), with Electrocautery and Argon Gas and coagulation; fully Automated Cleaning and Drying Of Scopes, to minimize infections and prolong longevity.
“The new Clinic also boasts of the latest 1.5 Tesla MRI General Electric; 64 slice CT scan General Electric; UltraSound with different probes (cardiogy, abdominal, vascular, OBS); Digital X-Ray; fully equipped Laboratory, independent with high tech machines for haematology, chemistry, hormonal studies ELISA and Chromatography, cultures, microscope, blood bank and many other tasks.
“It also has a well stocked Pharmacy with medication storage area; friendly facility for disabled/physically challenged people; sterilization autoclave machines; automated water treatment machine UV and De-ionizer; One OBS room; 4 double bed rooms (total 8 beds), all equiped with a portable monitor with telemetry real-time transmission of all patient’s vitals to the central nurse station in the ward; One VIP lounge and room with continuous monitoring Wi-Fi as well as 24 hours ambulance service.
“All the equipment, monitors and desktops are connected through a computerized integrated system linking the Radiology with the Laboratory and the Electronic Patient Records, that can be checked and managed on-site, but also remotely, anywhere in the world, using an authorized access.
“Finally, the new clinic, parades a dedicated team and personnel that has undergone orientation/training on the use and working of the facility /available equipment.”
To further add to his already superlative achievements in the Health sector, Governor Wike made this solemn promise to Rivers people, during the inauguration of the Rumuogba 1 and 2 flyover, of the triple flyover project built also by Julius Berger Nigeria, in Port Harcourt, and Commissioned by former Minister of Defence and Kano State Governor, Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.
He said: “Let me tell the people of the Rivers State today, in the next two weeks Julius Berger Nigeria PLC will come back and sign a contract with Rivers State Government to build a Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Centre. It shall be the best in this country and shall be completed in 14 months.”
With all these bold, impactful and enduring initiatives and legacy projects in the Health sector and with many more to come before the end of his tenure, Governor Wike has not only underlined his determination to address the critical health needs of Rivers people, but indeed, to prepare and position the sector with maximum capacity, to cope with emerging health issues and challenges. In addition, it will help the State to compete favorably in full compliance with global standards in future.
Nsirim is the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Rivers State .