Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Monday said his administration would overhaul the state’s healthcare system such as developing practical and innovative solutions to improve the current system.
Abdulrazaq made this known while declaring open a-two day Kwara State Health Symposium with the theme: Partnership for Health Innovation: Towards Creating a Sustainable Healthcare System in Kwara State in Ilorin, the state capital.
The Governor, who was represented by his deputy, Kayode Alabi, said the current system lacks enough manpower, basic facilities and drug, among other challenges.
He explained that what makes a good hospital is not the structure but the presence of qualified and adequate health workers, basic facilities and drugs noting that Kwara hospitals are short-staffed with obsolete facilities which he said has been discouraging medical doctors and other medical personnel from practising in the state.
“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,” he said.
“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 roadmap as a model state in the areas of innovative solutions.”
The Governor added that the recent release of about N232m counterpart fund to address maternal and child health and medical outreach for the poor and the vulnerable in the state was to fulfil part of his campaign promises to give Kwarans quality healthcare services.
In their separate goodwill messages at the event attended by dozens of top healthcare experts and government officials, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Primary Health, Senators Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe and Pharmacist Sadiq Umar, said the symposium was an eye-opener for the state government and commended Abdulrazaq for what they described as a right step in the right direction towards making health system work for all in the state.
They identified quality healthcare system as a necessary ingredient for socioeconomic development and pledged to assist the government in boosting the health sector to improve the living standard of Kwarans.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Health Matters, Professor Wale Suleiman, emphasised the need for a collective effort to evolve a health system that would work for all and expressed hope that the outcome of the symposium would bring out workable recommendations to help the government improve the health sector.
The symposium came hours after AbdulRazaq announced Prof Sulaiman, a renowned US-based neurosurgeon, as his Special Adviser on Health Matters.
“As part of his clear-eyed efforts to revamp every sector of the state, Governor AbdulRazaq is glad to bring Professor Sulaiman on board as a leading member of his team. He is confident that the famous Professor will bring his wealth of experience to bear in the delivery of affordable, innovative and qualitative healthcare to the people of Kwara,” according to a statement by the governor’s spokesman, Rafiu Ajakaye.
“The appointment is based on the excellent report of his vast experience in health matters both locally and internationally, and dedication to the noble ideals of this administration.”
The statement said Prof. Sulaiman, until his appointment the chairman of a global healthcare development company RNZ Global Ltd., is an expert in transformational changes in the design, delivery, access, safety and quality of healthcare utilising modern technology.
The appointee was also the chief executive officer and medical director of Back and Spine Centre of Africa, the first state-of-the-art hospital for management of spine diseases in Nigeria. He was also reputed to have performed the first minimally invasive spine surgery in Sub-Sahara Africa.
A member of several neurosurgeon bodies and a visiting Professor to many universities in the United States, Canada and Nigeria, among others, Prof. Sulaiman has led many medical missions of the Kwara State Association of Nigeria North America (KSANG).