Delta govt to revive abandoned hospital
The abandoned Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) built ultra modern Okerenkoko Cottage Hospital in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State to bounce back to life, courtesy of the State Government as revelation came of how ex-militant Leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo) rescued the Hospital with over #400 million for two years.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Nicholas Azinge speaking to journalist on Wednesday after the inspection of the Cottage Hospital, built by the NDDC and Commissioned by former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan January,15, 2008 said that; “We are here to take a look at this Cottage Hospital that was being run by Tompolo Foundation here in Okerenkoko. We are here to see what is on ground and to see some of the things they have and the equipment they have also and to also see how we can get into discussion on how to either partner with them or take it over. We are here to access what are required to bring it back to life and to know which direction to go”.
“So far it is a decently built Cottage Hospital with a decent operation theater, laboratory, waiting room and 15 capacity bed space. We are impressed with what we have seen. It has its own generating plant. So it is a full fledged hospital. We are encouraged with what we have seen and now that we have seen it, we are going to take the message back to the governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa”, the Commissioner added.
According to him also, “In his quest to make his prosperity for all possible, we will make our recommendations to the Governor because this Cottage Hospital serves not only the neighboring communities, but also people from Edo, Bayelsa and Ondo states. So we will make the recommendations and we know that our governor is a governor of the people and a grass root governor. We know that in achieving his SMART agenda and his universal healthcare programme for all Deltans, am sure we can be able to take over this hospital and make it available to all”
“To achieve this, first we have to set up a task force and get the specific things we need in terms of naira and kobo. Then we will look at the budget to see how we can input it inside or the governor will do something to make sure it takes off. We cannot assure you when we are going to do this, but we will try to do it in the shortest possible time, Dr Azinge said.
On his part, Hon Tonye Timi, Chairman, House Committee on Health, Delta State House of Assembly said that;” “There maybe issues of legislation and that is where I come in as the Chairman House Committee on Health. There may be issues of funding and budgeting which is within the purview of the House of Assembly.With what I am seeing, I can assure you that the State House of Assembly will support all the agenda and programmes of the Executive to the benefit of the Gbaramatu people and all others that were benefiting from this Cottage Hospital”.
The Chairman, Hospital Management Board, Dr Mordi Ononye who also accompanied the Health Commissioner on the inspection visit said that; “I am sure you heard the comments of the commissioner. He is certainly not happy about the current happenings but we knew that then place was running well before and all we are doing is to restore it to its former state.
“This is a peaceful community and like the commissioner said the hospital is a well built hospital. So I believe we are ready to take over”, he added.
The Executive Secretary, Tompolo Foundation, Comrade Paul Bebenimibo noted that;” “In August 2015, we wrote a letter to the Delta State Government that we could no longer run the hospital and we asked the Government to take over the responsibility. That is what the Government has just responded to and they have come to inspect the place. And from their comments, they have confirmed that the Okerenkoko Cottage Hospital is a good one that cannot be abandoned”.
He revealed that; “After it was built and Commissioned and handed over to the State Government and it was ran by DESOPADEC on behalf of the State Government it became abandoned after the 2009 invasion of Gbaramatu Kingdom by the Army and in 2013, the Tompolo Foundation took over the running.From 2013 to August, 2015, the Foundation spent over #400 Million running the Cottage Hospital and at a point we were unable to continue as a result of funds and the Foundation wrote to the Government to take over the running of the Cottage Hospital”.
Comrade Bebenimibo also said that;”I want to call on the Government to match their words with action and come in immediately to bring a relief back to the people because this community is in a very difficult terrain and for people to be able to have access to health care is a very difficult task. For instance if someone is having a health challenge, the nearest place from here is Warri. The finance is not even there to take care of such problems. So it is a good thing that the government has decided to listen to the people by coming to access the cottage hospital and do the needful.”