Osun Denies Report Claiming Primary Health Centres In Shambles Despite $20.5million Revitalisation Grants

The Osun State Government has claimed that primary health centres in the state were well funded and not in shambles.

A report by an online medium (not SaharaReporters) had revealed that PHCs in the state were still in shambles despite a $20.5million World Bank support funds it received to help fix its weak health facilities.

According to the report, most of the health facilities visited in the state have dysfunctional borehole, decrepit wards, fashionable rooftops and paint but an awful interior.

Reacting in a letter, the Osun Government claimed the health facilities were of world standard and not in shambles.

“In January 2019, the Federal Government announced that both Yobe and Osun states would get $49m from Saving One Million Lives Programme for Results funds. The states got the amount following their impressive performances at earlier programmes funded by the World Bank. Osun got $20m from the total sum.

“The $20m, which amounted to N7.3bn, was deposited at a special account in the Central Bank as it is meant for special projects on health. The funds became accessible in March.

“The way we access the funds is so unique. No one will ordinarily withdraw the money until a project is done. After the project, we will file all necessary papers and then it will be accessed. Apart from the committees set up by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola here, the donor agency also have a way of cross-checking the level of works done vis-a-vis the funds to be released,” it read.

The government also distanced the state governor, Gboyega Oyetola from all withdrawals.

Quoting the Chairman of the State Primary Healthcare Board, Pharmacist Leke Ogunsola, the letter further read, “When it comes to withdrawal, I’m the last person that will give approval before money is withdrawn from the CBN account where it was warehoused. The governor’s role was purely supervisory. We feed him with progress report, the amount we have spent and every other necessary details. He set up two committees to supervise the project. The first one was monitoring and evaluation committee, whose role is to ensure that quality jobs are done by all contractors. This committee consist of members of all relevant bodies in the construction industry. I chaired that committee.

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“The other committee is the Personnel and Welfare and its job was to work on staff strength in each of the 332 revitalised health centers and to carry out needs assessment. The committee was chaired by Dr Afolayan from State Specialist Hospital, Asubiaro, while the Executive Secretary of PHDB, Dr Samson Oluwole Fabiyi, was also a member of the committee.”

On the PHCs alleged to be in shambles, the government claimed a team was sent to the areas to asses the state of facilities and operations of the centres.

“An independent team after the story visited the two towns of Okinni and Inisha to assess the state of the facilities and operations of the centers. There first point of visit was Olukotun PHC. The center was initially built by the administration of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola as the board on the wall shows. The humming sound of the freezer was also noticed as it was working throughout our 27-minutes stay in the facility. Bulb signalling connection to national grid. Also, as against the report of lack of water, the borehole sunk in the premises still supplies water to the facility. The team confirmed this by using the two washing hands basins at the facility. One inside the delivery room. They also used the washing hands basin.

“When the got to Okinni, it was gathered that those who came for infant immunization have left but no fewer than eight staff were present at the center, while others were said to be on night shift. Though, the center lacks perimeter fencing, but all facilities were in working conditions. Their report urged the government to work on this for the safety of both staff and patients.

“All PHCs in Osun State get funding through two ways; grants from Health Insurance and National Primary Healthcare Board gateway, while the third is the grant from Osun State Government. During our visits to the PHCs, this reporter found out that all PHCs have banks accounts. Officer-in-charge and the Chairman of Ward Development Committee are signatories to these accounts. Each of the PHCs get funding directly from these sources without interference from the state.

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“Each of the 332 PHCs have their accounts. The grants goes directly into the account. PHCs will do their business plan and that will contain all what they need at the clinics. Bring it up here for us to cross check. We’ll send it to the state for approval because there’s another committee in the state established by the Federal government for that program. When it’s approved, they can go ahead and implement.

“The WDC Chairman and the officer-in-charge are the signatories to the account. We receive money quarterly and we ensure that it’s spent on the needs of patients visiting the facilities. The only thing done by government officials at PHDB is examination and approval of the plans we send to them.

“The independent team also visited Inisha PHC and requested for the statement of the account and cheque book of the center. It was discovered that the facility has received over N2.5m within the past in the last three years. This is different from the state interventions. The statement also confirmed that the PHC has a sum of N474,566 as at December 8, 2021. No withdrawal has been made since then.

“In the viral report, it was alleged that the contracts for the construction of the PHCs were awarded to persons/companies who lack basic knowledge or are close associates of Governor Oyetola. Chairman of the Board, Leke Ogunsola denied this, describing it as unfounded and a blatant lie. Ogunsola distanced the governor from the contract award, stating that all he (the governor) got was just progress report. He said the board followed the dictates of State Procurement Law 2007 to letter.”

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