By Onome Oghenetega
The Delta State Government has ordered one of the traditional rulers in Delta Central to vacate his palace.
The king was said to be illegally occupying the palace which was originally an abandoned healthcare centre which the government is now planning to renovate to enable healthcare services commence in the area.
The Director General of the Delta State Contributory Health Commission (DSCHC), Dr. Ben Nkechika who disclosed this on Monday in Asaba, the state capital, said the monarch has since moved out of the palace in line with the government directive.
Nkechika, however, declined to give the name of the royal father and the kingdom.
He explained that the aim was to revatilise and operationalise the hitherto defunct healthcare facilities in an ongoing efforts by the state government to achieve universal health coverage for all Deltans in the state.
The DSCHC’s Director-General spoke shortly after the commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a non-governmental organisation, Pharmaccess Foundation and the Bank of Industry (BoI) for the renovation of 25 primary healthcare centres in the state.
He said under the programme tagged ‘Access to Finance’, defunct and abandoned healthcare centres will be given to private operators to run and to be handed over to the state government after a period of time.
According to him, private sector service operators will run “defunct and abandoned healthcare facility structures to Renovate, Operate and Transfer (ROT) back to the Delta State Government at the end of a specified tenure with low interest loan facility from the Bank of Industry.
“This innovative product will ensure availability of 24 hours quality healthcare services across the state for the Delta State Contributory Health Scheme, ensure continuity of healthcare services during strikes and other industrial disputes as well as more healthcare service options for residents of Delta State.”
Speaking at the signing of the MoU on behalf of the state government, chairman of the contributory health commission, Dr. Isaac Akpoveta revealed that the objective is to encourage urban-rural drift in terms of healthcare services.
Akpoveta who allayed the fears of healthcare professionals, assured that facilities will be provided in the chosen healthcare centres, adding that patients will be available to be attended to.
“We are taking equipments and professionals to the rural areas. We assure professionals that they will meet patients at the centres. And the state government will provide the funding through the commission. So they should not be afraid to go to the rural areas.
“This is an incentive for rural migration. The structures are there for utilization. So I want to appeal to the banks to stick to the agreement and release funds as much as possible,” Akpoveta stated.
Dr Olamide Okulaja of Pharmaccess had said ‘Access to Finance’ programme was very important to make funds available to the private sector that will partner the Delta State government in achieving quality and affordable healthcare for Deltans through the contributory health insurance scheme.