Determined to revitalize and operationalize 25 defunct healthcare facilities spread across Delta, the state government on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), with a consortium of medical service providers under the aegis of Pharmaccess to renovate, operate and transfer (ROT).
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, speaking at at the event in Asaba, disclosed that the MoU and the ROT were necessary as they would check rural/urban drift by people seeking medical care and measures to continue to ensure quality healthcare. He noted that with the agreements, medical facilities of international standards would be available at different rural localities of the state.
According to the governor, who spoke through the Chairman, Delta State Contributory Health Commission, Dr. Isaac Akpoveta, “there are several health centres in different communities that have not been put to use. With this agreements, the private sector will take over the running of the centres, equip them to standards and ensure that they are operational 24 hours for our people who have enrolled in the contributory Health Insurance Scheme.
“We are taking equipment and professionals to the rural areas. We assure professionals that they will meet patients at the centres. And the state government will provide the funding through the commission. So they should not be afraid to go to the rural areas.
“This is an incentive for rural migration. The structures are there for utilization. So I want to appeal to the banks to stick to the agreement and release funds as much as possible,” Akpoveta stated.
The Director-General of the DSCHC, Dr. Ben Nkechika, stated that innovation, which led to the signing of the agreement, was very important “to achieve the desired milestone”, noting that with the agreements, the private sector will have access to funds at a single digit interest loan from the Bank of Industry (BoI) to fix and run the abandoned health centres.
He said that under the programme, private sector service operators would be handed over the “defunct and abandoned healthcare facility structures to Renovate, Operate and Transfer (ROT) back to the Delta State government at the end of a specified tenure with low interest loan facility from the Bank of Industry.
“This innovative product will ensure availability of 24 hours quality healthcare services across Delta for the state Contributory Health Scheme, ensure continuity of healthcare services during strikes and other industrial disputes, as well as more healthcare service options for residents of Delta State,” he explained.
Dr. Olamide Okulaja of Pharmaccess had said Access To Finance Programme was very important to make funds available to the private sector that will partner the Delta State government in achieving quality and affordable healthcare for the citizens through the contributory Health Insurance Scheme.
Chairman of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, Delta State chapter, Itiako Ikpokpo, commended Governor Okowa’s administration for its commitment to providing affordable healthcare for Deltans. He disclosed that the governor had earlier approved for renovation 107 health centres across the state.
“We are direct beneficiaries of this project because, primary healthcare is the function of the local government,” he said, assuring that all the local government chairmen would work for the programme to succeed.”