Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has inaugurated a seven-man committee to revive some dormant state health institutions in the state. The implementation committee, chaired by Ipalibo Harry Banigo, the deputy governor, herself a medical doctor, is to revamp the idle and litigation-harried multi-million-naira Kelsey Harrison Hospital in Diobu, Dental & Maxillo-facial Hospital on Aba Road, Port Harcourt, among other health facilities.
Governor Wike appears amply jolted by reports that the State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH), which is only newly built and equipped by his administration, had lost accreditation for internship in dental residency training.
He asked the implementation committee to urgently reposition the Dental and Maxillo-facial Hospital and integrate it into RSUTH, wondering why such facility would exist and the state teaching hospital would be offering dental services from a makeshift accommodation. “We have decided that it (Dental & Maxillo-facial Hospital) should be handed over to the teaching hospital in order to retain accreditation,” the governor said.
He charged them to deploy every measure required to revamp the Kelsey Harrison Hospital that has been dormant for some years now over lingering litigation over agreement between the state government and International Trauma and Critical Care Centre Limited (ITCC). An inquiry committee set up by the state executive council on the hospital made fundamental recommendations, including handing it over to the state. “We’ve therefore, decided to ensure that the committee’s recommendations are implemented immediately without bureaucracy,” said Governor Wike.
He saddled the deputy governor led implementation committee with the responsibility of how Kelsey Harrison Hospital should be revitalised and made more functional, and should serve people in the densely populated area of Diobu. “There will also be the need to hand it over to the Rivers State Hospitals Management Board at the end of the day,” he said.
He urged the committee to engage competent personnel that would deliver the best results so that the hospital would begin to offer services to the people of the state.
Other members of the committee are: the state attorney-general and commissioner for justice, Zacchaeus Adangor; commissioner for health, Princewill Chike; the chairman of Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH), J.N. Hart; chief medical director of RSUTH, Friday Aaron; chief medical director of Rivers State Hospitals Management Board, Kenneth Okagwa, and the permanent secretary, ministry of health, Ndidi Uchay who is to serve as secretary.
Additionally, the Ipalibo Harry-Banigo committee would restructure the Ashes to Ashes Funeral Limited, which handles RSUTH’s mortuary unit. An existing agreement gave a 25:75 percent revenue sharing ratio between the owner-state government and its retainer-operator. But Governor Wike is disappointed that the mortuary facility collects 25 percent profit and the service provider collects 75 percent. Yet the operator relies on the government for its financial needs.
“Why will the hospital rely totally on government when they charge for the services they render? As a government, we pay salaries of the workers; and we have fixed modern infrastructure and equipment for the hospital. It is not right that government that built and equipped the mortuary will be collecting 25 percent profit and the service provider collects 75 percent,” the governor retorted.
Under a new arrangement by the implementation committee, avenue would be created for the funeral hospital to train pathologists and morticians at no extra cost.