Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the University Teaching Hospital (UCH), Professor Jesse Otegbayo, has lamented the decaying infrastructure and increasing spate of insecurity in the pioneer teaching hospital.
He however disclosed that Nigerians can enjoy affordable healthcare facilities if the government can take some proactive steps to boost medicare.
The CMD said these on Monday while addressing a press conference to mark the 66th anniversary of the pioneer teaching hospital in Nigeria.
Professor Jesse Otegbayo is serving his second term tenure of four years, having first assumed office on 1 March, 2019 as the eighth CMD of UCH.
The CMD admitted to the challenges facing the teaching hospital, its areas of essential needs and the successes recorded under his leadership.
He mentioned incessant power cut and also called on the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) to reconsider the payment of industrial tarrif being charged UCH.
He said the teaching hospital is operating and rendering social services and, as such, should not be placed on industrial tarrif charges.
Professor Otegbayo said the rising cost of diesel is grossly affecting the running of the hospital, disclosing that its 1000kva generator consumes over 300 litres of diesel per hour.
He also disclosed that there are challenges of insecurity, citing the example of vehicle which was found parked within the UCH premises.
He said CCTV cameras installed all over the hospital, including the residential areas, helped in discovering one AK Rifle and rounds of ammunition which he said have since been handed over to the Yemetu Police Station.
He also said there has been some reported cases of stealing among the security staff, noting that some of them were involved in stealing solar bulbs in some places in the hospital.
“There is basically no administration that does not encounter challenges in one way or the other. This management is also not void of that. At this juncture, I would like to state the challenges and needs.
“We have been experiencing incessant power cut. There are many issues from the national grid that often affects our power supply.
“We are appealing to IBEDC to take do review of its payment of industrial tariff charges. We are appealing for non-industrial charges as UCH is a service-based institution.
“The rising cost of diesel is grossly affecting the running of the hospital. Our 1000kva generator consumes over 300 litres of diesel per hour.
“At between ₦1,200 and ₦1,400 per litre, we are spending between ₦18million and ₦20million on diesel on monthly basis. Without doubt, many Nigerians would not be able to afford the hospital bills, if we should be charging them accordingly.
“With incessant power cut, we have been experiencing water shortage as there is no electricity to pump water. There is a need for the dredging of the “Dandaru ” Dam which will help with sufficient supply of clean water to the hospital.
“There is a need for the overhauling of the old, decaying sewer system which has been in existence since 1952.
“We need to build students’ hostel accomodation for both male and female. We have 11 affiliated schools in UCH.
“We need alternative power supply to essential areas of services such as Outpatient Department, Wards, Intensive Care Unit Special Care Baby Unit, etc.,” he said.
He listed other challenges facing the teaching hospital to include incessant strikes as they affect the hospital’s IGR and difficulties in getting waivers to replace exited staff and staff shortage.
Speaking on how to ensure affordable healthcare for all, he said one of the ways the government can stop the increasing cost of access to good medical care is by embracing universal health care.
He said the government can embrace universal health care as being done in many countries abroad through the health insurance scheme for the people and deduct taxes from the beneficiaries.
Professor Otegbayo said government should also give adequate attention to Primary Health Care (PHC) and get it fixed as a solution to the increasing cost of medical care.
Admitting that, though it may not be popular with several Nigerians, the CMD advised that another solution to the increasing cost of medical care is by reducing and controlling population growth.
According to him, the people are procreating at an alarming rate and far above the available medical facilities and its affordability.
It was however not all sad stories as the UCH CMD reeled out the achievements of the teaching hospital under his watch, declaring: “I make bold to say that under my watch, the University College, Ibadan has grown.
“Today marks a momentous occasion as we gather to celebrate the 66th anniversary of our beloved institution’s sixty-six years of unwavering commitment to health, compassion and progress.
“As we reflect on the journey that brought here, we recognise the countless lives touched, healed, and transformed within these walls.
“Our hospital stands as a testament to the power of collective dedication and the enduring spirit of healthcare excellence.
“Over the years, we have witnessed tremendous advancements in medicine, technology and patient care. Through it all, our commitment to providing the highest standard of service has remained resolute,” he said.
Otegbayo was appreciative of the medical professionals, administrative staff and support teams of UCH as he said: “Your tireless efforts have shaped our hospital into the beacon of health and healing it is today.
“Together, we have faced challenges, embraced innovation, and upheld a tradition of compassionate care that defines our institution.
“Today, we not only commemorate the passage of time but also the achievements that have shaped our paths.”