Opening Remarks by Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq at the two-day Health Symposium tagged ‘Partnership for Health Innovation in Kwara State’

Mon ,August, 26 2019

In the run up to the 2019 elections, we made a number of promises to our people. That included a promise to revamp the health sector with a view to deliver affordable and qualitative healthcare system to them. Since coming on board, we have taken practical steps in this direction. This administration has paid N232m in counterpart funds to address maternal and child health, nutrition, and malaria. Part of this fund will enable Kwara State to access the Basic Healthcare Provision Funds which would provide subsidized healthcare especially for the poor and the vulnerable.

I have also recently approved the sums of N26.9m for a medical outreach in partnership with the Kwara State Association of Nigeria North America Inc. and Sakinah Medical which I’m sure are ably represented at this event. That upcoming outreach involves nine surgical procedures with beneficiaries drawn from the state. The procedures shall include spinabifidia and hydrocephollus shunting, among others. We have also taken immediate steps to tackle the menace of vaccine-derived polio, which broke out in January this year, by mobilising resources for the agencies in charge for the benefit of our children.

But the truth is that the state healthcare system is itself in intensive care and requires urgent attention. This is why we have called this symposium to develop practical and innovative solutions that can be deployed in the short, medium, and long-term to improve current state of healthcare in Kwara State.

Yes, we have some structures scattered across the state. But what makes a good hospital is not the structure. It is the presence of qualified and adequate health workers, basic facilities and drugs. Our hospitals are short-staffed. The facilities are mostly obsolete. I have also learnt how medical doctors and other medical personnel don’t want to stay with the state government. I must at this point commend the few ones who have stayed back to serve our people. They are our heroes. I thank all of them on behalf of our people. I recently visited the Sobi Specialist Hospital where I was shown a moribund oxygen plant, among other problems facing the hospital. The Ilorin General Hospital, the flagship hospital in the state, is one giant structure without basic amenities befitting of its status as our premier hospital.

We inherited some preliminary works towards bringing back the health insurance scheme but our position is that we must fix the facilities on the ground first so that the scheme will achieve its aims.

This gathering of world class experts is meant to look holistically into these issues. With about 24 international healthcare companies and dozens of experts attending the symposium, this event has been designed to be problem-based and solution-oriented with emphasis on healthcare financing through state-wide health insurance, implementation of minimum standard of Primary Health Centres, optimisation of secondary healthcare and development of specialist services in Kwara state.

We are confident that the outcome of this deliberation will help us come up with the easy-to-implement roadmap to bequeath to our people a healthcare system that takes care of their needs and is able to attract and retain capable hands from across the country. Beyond that, we envision an innovative healthcare system that deploys modern technology to not only tackle the medical needs of our people but also put Kwara State on the national map as a model state in the areas of innovative medical solutions.

Finally, my profound gratitude goes to all our partners who have done so much to make this event a reality. But permit me to single out our own Professor Wale Sulaiman, a universally renowned neurosurgeon, and his team for their priceless efforts. This, we believe, is definitely the beginning of a synergy that we hope holds the key to a greater Kwara State in healthcare delivery.

I thank all of you for your time. God bless you.