By Chris Chimezie
The Ondo State Executive Council has approved the upgrading of the state owned School of Health Technology, Akure, to the status of a College of Health Technology.
Also approved by the Council, was the extension of the Mother and Child Hospitals to the three Senatorial Districts of the state as well as the introduction of free Healthcare services for pregnant women and children from age 0-5 years.
These were parts of the resolutions reached at the state’s weekly Executive Council meeting presided over by the state Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN).
Addressing Journalists at the Exco press briefing, Commissioner for Health, Dr Wahab Adegbenro, stated that the bill for the approval of the upgrading of the School of Health Technology would be forwarded to the State House of Assembly for law backing.
Flanked by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Yemi Olowolabi and Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Dr (Mrs) Olawunmi Ilawole, Adegbenro noted that the Akeredolu-led administration has given much attention to the health sector with a view to transforming it.
“Recently, you will recall that the School of Nursing and Midwifery was absorbed by the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo (UNIMED) into a degree awarding institution, which means our students, after the nursing training, will have B.Sc certificates as against the Staff Nurse or Staff Midwife.
“To make further progress in the sector, the Council approved a new bill for the upgrade of the hitherto, School of Health Technology to a tertiary institution, and will henceforth, be addressed as College of Health Technology, Akure.
“With the new bill introduced today, when signed into law, the College of Health Technology would be empowered to award Ordinary National Diploma (OND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) in health sciences.
“The College will now have its own Governing Board and the Head of the institution will be addressed as a Provost and no longer a Principal, he said.
The Commissioner hinted that another step taken by the Council, was the scaling up of the Mother and Child facilities to ascertain that the vulnerable group which included pregnant women and children of age 0-5 enjoyed free and quality health care services.
“You will also recall that Governor Akeredolu, recently, signed into law, a bill establishing the Contributory Health Insurance Scheme which has made adequate provision for the vulnerable at no financial embarrassment.
“Determined to make the services available to everyone, besides the already existing Mother and Child Hospital in Akure and Ondo City, the hospitals have been increased to seven with the approval of additional five new ones.
“The new five Hospitals that will be scaled up to the status of Mother and Child Hospitals, according to the Council include; the State Hospital in Ikare-Akoko and the General Hospital in Owo for the Northern Senatorial District.
“Others are; the General Hospital in Ore, State Specialist Hospital in Okitipupa and the General Hospital in Igbokoda for the Southern Senatorial District of the state”, he stated.
Adegbenro added that the newly approved Mother and Child Hospitals will be upgraded with modern equipment procured by the Governor during his vacation to the United States of America (USA) which would soon arrive the country and would be distributed to the facilities.
He further stated that the over 500 health centers in the state would also serve as mini centers for the free health care services with its main focus on pregnant women and children between the ages 0-5 years.
“These are the major steps the Akeredolu-led administration has taken today and we hope more would still come as the vision of the present government is to bring quality health care to the doorsteps of everyone in the state”, he submitted.