Governorship candidates in Ogun State on Wednesday scored the administration of Gov. Ibikunle Amosun low in the area of healthcare delivery in the state.
Speaking separately at a debate organised by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Ogun chapter, they decried the state of healthcare system in the state after seven and half years.
The candidates were Gboyegba Isiaka of the African Democratic Congress (ADC); Dimeji Bankole of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) and Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress (APC), represented by his deputy, Mrs Noimot Salako-Oyedele.
Others were Chief Segun Odegbami of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and Adekunle Akinlade of the Allied People’s Movement (APM) represented by his deputy, Mrs Adepeju Adebajo.
Isiaka of the ADP said the state of infrastructure, service delivery and personnel were bad, adding that something “drastic” has to be done within the shortest possible time.
He promised to increase access to affordable healthcare by rehabilitating and revitalising the health facilities and structures.
According to Isiaka, healthcare funding cannot be the sole responsibility of government, there should be collaboration from other agencies.
He said this would motivate personnel, and in turn, decrease the drive for medical tourism and brain drain.
“Health is a major challenge to us all. We must do the needful.
“The immediate things we will do is to rehabilitate medical facilities to bring healthcare access to the people,” Isiaka said.
Contributing, Bankole said that the state of healthcare in the state was “a mess”, which according to him, is not different from other sectors.
He noted that whatever policy the state has on ground, it should also look toward gainfully employing its people, so as to be able to pay for their healthcare.
“The idea of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is good, but people should be gainfully employed to meet their health needs,” the former Speaker of the House of Representatives said.
Also, Odegbami said that health was not listed as a priority of the state government, hence, the need to domesticate the healthcare design.
He said that the state of healthcare in Ogun was “designed for people to die”.
Odegbami promised that his administration would reduce the health bills of the people, saying, “health is my major priority, followed by education”.
Abiodun of APC noted that social welfare was key and one of the responsibilities of government, and as such, his government would focus, not only on facilities and infrastructure, but also welfare.
He added that the needs of the physically challenged and people with special needs would be priotised.
Akinlade of the APM, however, decried the neglect of rural areas where some elderly have not been enjoying access to quality healthcare.
“We intend to open up these areas and do more.
“We have to improve our infrastructure, and we already have a plan to upgrade them. We also intend to continue partnership with other agencies,” he said.
In his remarks, the NMA Chairman, Dr Ismail Lawal, said that the interactive session had created a booklet of what should be expected of the candidate that emerges.
Lawal urged the winner to organise a stakeholders meeting or forum which would constitute the body of professionals.
The Chairman of the event, Chief (Mrs) Olatokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu, commended all the participants, saying that they had spoken in specific terms, what they intend to do when voted into power.
Awolowo-Dosunmu appreciated them for the measure of respect they have for the NMA to have attended the debate.