Town hall meetings present the government and the governed the opportunity to meet and discuss issues relating to the welfare of the latter and development of the society. This is why the Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) of the Catholic Archdiocese of Ibadan has continued to promote dialogue so that those in positions of authorities can know those things expected of them by the populace.
Recently, JDPC brought together stakeholders in the health sector to discuss the state of healthcare in the society and ways it can be improved upon.
The coordinator of the event, Mr Jide Bamgbose, in his opening remarks, said healthcare is one of the cardinal points of the current administration in Oyo State, just as he added that the meeting between officials of the state’s Ministry of Health and members of the public would help the government to know the areas it also needs to focus on as far as healthcare is concerned.
Mr Bamgbose said during the activities celebrating the second anniversary of the current administration, Governor Seyi Makinde said awards for rehabilitation and construction of 299 primary healthcare centres across the wards in the state had been approved, “and this meeting will help us hear from the state government how far it has gone on the projects.”
The JDPC official, however, lamented that despite the fact that the Commissioner for Health, Dr Bashir Bello; chairman, Primary Healthcare Board, Honourable Abiodun Dada Awoleye aand the Special Adviser to the Governor on Health, Dr Olufunmilayo Salami were all duly invited for the town hall meeting, only Dr Bello sent the ministry’s Director of Nursing Services, Mr Ajiboye Taiwo, while others did not attend or send representatives.
This, he said, would not allow the people have in depth idea of what government is doing in certain areas.
While speaking on behalf of the commissioner for health, Mr Taiwo said the government under the leadership of Governor Seyi Makinde has been employing healthcare workers across the local governments in the state.
He said: “Over the years, healthcare professionals were retiring and they were not being replaced, but since the coming on board of Governor Makinde, professionals are being recruited, so as soon as someone retires, there will be a replacement for him/her.”
Mr Taiwo said the government is also giving adequate attention to maternal health through its partnership with the Federal Government.
While speaking, Saheed Olagunju from Iyana Offa, commended the state government for the primary healthcare project in their community, just as he urged the government to quickly furnish the centre for the benefit of the community.
Responding to this, Mr Taiwo said all the projects are in stages and that the government would soon furnish the project.
Mr Hamed Wasiu from Ibadan North East Local Government urged the government to also employ personnel to secure the healthcentres, especially at night, “because some healthcare workers don’t feel safe working night duties due to the activities of criminals in some communities.”
To this, Mr Taiwo said the government was employing all categories of workers, including security personnel to man the healthcentres.
Alhaji Adekunle Akande urged the government to always ensure that there are drugs available at the healthcentres.
He said there was a time some drugs were brought to the centre but the community rejected them because they had expired, so he urged the government to ensure that drugs sent to the healthcentres are those that are newly-produced by pharmaceutical companies.
Mr Taiwo, in responding to this, said community leaders ought to have sought an audience with the doctor in charge of the local government to complain about the drugs.
He said they also could have come to the ministry to make enquiries as it is their right to know what is going on.
“People should start asking questions and there is nothing anyone is hiding; this government is working for the people and it is open about its activities.”
At the end of the session, Mr Taiwo urged those who still feel work at their primary healthcare centres are not progressing as they should to have patience as the government would touch every area.
He urged the people to continue to support the government by giving feedbacks on issues so that government officials can know what the people really want.
The Director of Nursing Services said all the issues raised at the meeting would be documented and forwarded to the appropriate quarters so that government can act quickly on those issues.
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