Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), on Tuesday handed over the Amuwo-Odofin Maternal and Childcare Centre in FESTAC Town, the sixth in the series, with an appeal to residents to take full advantage of the facility at all times instead of patronizing quacks.
Out of the 10 such centres planned for the state by the present administration, six have been completed and are fully operational including the Amuwo-Odofin MCC which opened for operation two months ago. Others are those in Ajegunle, Gbaja in Surulere, Ifako-Ijaiye, Isolo and Ikorodu.
Addressing a large audience of the residents, including traditional rulers and government functionaries and other stakeholders at the premises of the four-floor centre at the FESTAC First Gate, Governor Fashola noted with dismay that some pregnant mothers often times rush to quacks first only to go to the maternal and childcare centres when their situation becomes critical.
“Often times, some of the cases that we see in the facilities where we have deployed them in Isolo, Surulere, Ajegunle, are people who have come to us after they have patronized quacks usually coming in with very critical and difficult to resolve cases. Sometimes we succeed in saving mother and child; sometimes our personnel are not very successful because they do not have enough time and enough history and so on and so forth”, the Governor said.
The Governor, who described the facilities as both a product of the peoples’ tax payment, an asset of collective ownership and evidence of the citizens’ commonwealth, appealed to the residents, “Let us use it; let us come here first instead of coming here last”, adding that all of the antenatal treatment and care and all of the equipment as well as the theatres are already installed in the facility.
Governor Fashola said of the remaining four MCCs, the one being built in Alimosho has been completed and would be handed over in a matter of weeks while the eighth one in Lekki has also been completed and is being equipped and fenced in readiness for testing prior to commissioning.
“The ninth and tenth ones are in Badagry and in Epe. They are still under construction but I believe that later in the year or at the latest next year they should be fully ready for deployment”, the Governor said.
On why his administration is building special hospitals for mothers and children, Governor Fashola declared, “It is because we take our responsibility to protect life and property very seriously and this responsibility will not be discharged only by deploying security apparatus like the cameras we unveiled on Monday, 1,000 cameras with another 1,000 coming to ensure that we keep an eye on all those who do not mean well for us and also to protect those who are going about their lawful duties”.
He told the people, “That is the way we will ensure that people live the fullest of the value of the tenure of life God has intended for us. By this kind of investment and by you embracing them, we can make sure that when a child is on the way, that child arrives safely and its mother delivers safely and that both mother and child can live a minimum of three scores and ten all things being equal. Our personnel have been trained to improve upon their capacity to care not just to treat.
“But the next line and important line of security really is preventive healthcare. What these facilities are doing in the six places where they are now operational is that they are reducing the distance that used to stand between the pregnant mother and the unborn baby and healthcare. So, we are bringing healthcare right to your neighbourhoods, right to your doorsteps”.
He commended the collaboration established between the state and the local governments by the 24-hour dedicated primary healthcare facilities which, according to him, “have opened now in Adeniji-Adele, in Mosan-Okunola, in Ajara in Badagry, in Epe, in Onigbongbo, in Itire and I believe there is one more I cannot readily recall now”, adding that there are still five more coming.
“And again what is happening is that in all of the antenatal care services, the uncomplicated child birth can take place at the primary healthcare level and this becomes your secondary level where difficult cases can be referred and more complex cases can go to the General Hospital in Ayinke House which is under construction”, he said.
Describing the MCCs as “the strongest evidence of the commitment of a Government that focuses on its responsibility of ensuring that the protection of life and property remains its core obligation and duty”, Governor Fashola , however, explained, “Let me say therefore that while this is located in Amuwo-Odofin, it is not owned by Amuwo-Odofin and Oriade alone”.
“You are trustees of this asset for any woman or any child any who may pass through this area and suddenly be in need of healthcare service. Indeed as we go forward with our computerization and centralization of records, it will be very easy for anybody who registered in Ikorodu to have a check in Amuwo-Odofin because the record can be sent electronically and the doctor can look after such a patient”, he said.
Governor Fashola called on the people called to participate fully in the on-going Residents’ Registration exercise in the State saying the ability of Government to take care of the health of the residents would be dependent on the residents making available all their records.
“So it is not just enough to register as a pregnant woman, it is now a duty that you owe to yourself and this State to go and register as a resident of Lagos under the Lagos State Residents Registration exercise. It is in your own best interest to do so”, the Governor said.
Noting that the projects, including those in the health sector, which government has embarked on since inception were being done with the peoples’ taxes, he told the people, “You are the one who built this, I did not do it, you gave me the tool to do it. But how can we ensure that it is you who take the fullest benefit of it unless we know that you live here.
“We are building houses with your taxes, only taxpayers will benefit from it. If you don’t have your records you can’t benefit from it. If we built houses and people from other states come to take the houses that we built with your taxes how will you feel? So in your own best interest, go and register. It is not about indigeneship, it is not about ethnic tribe, it is about residency”.
He further explained, “If you have lived in Lagos in the last six months or you just arrived this morning and you want to live here for the next six months, go and register so that I know that I am responsible for you. If there is a Lagosian living in Kano he should stay where he is because he is paying his tax to the Governor of Kano who will also look after him. That is the reason for the Residents Registration exercise”.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, said the Amuwo-Odofin MCC, like others across the State was built to address the problem of maternal and child mortality in the State adding that since the facility became operational two months ago, 24 babies have been delivered safely there while 133 women with various gyneacological issues have been attended to during the period.
Appealing to residents to take ownership of the facility, the Commissioner said its handover was a symbolic way of asking the community to take full responsibility over the centre.
Also present at the occasion were members of the State Executive Council including the Chief of Staff, Mr. Lanre Babalola; state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba; his Special Duties counterpart, Dr. Wale Ahmed; and state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Sola Oworu; as well as Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat and Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure, Engineer Ganiyu Johnson, members of the state House of Assembly, traditional rulers, party chieftains and other top government functionaries.