Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State will be crowned as the Silverbird Governor of the year at the Eko Hotel and suite, Lagos on Sunday.

Okowa’s performance since he became the governor of Delta state has diverted the attention of investors to the state. His various policies had made it easy for both local and international investors to want to be in Asaba, the state capital and other towns for business purpose.

Okowa whom himself is a doctor has created a niche for himself in the health sector when officially inaugurated the Asaba Specialist Hospital last year.

The joy expressed by Deltans was palpable as affirmed in the singing and dancing at the event. Women, indeed residents of the State, continue to celebrate the free healthcare enjoyed by the vulnerable, especially young children aged 0-5 and pregnant women.

The hospital is a source of joy to Deltans and has been described by many as a blessing, beyond easing the workload of the Federal Medical Centre Asaba, and providing healthcare to other neighbouring States. The health facility is the actualization of the healthcare component in the Stronger Delta agenda of the Okowa-led administration.

Prior to the inauguration, the Governor who visited to ascertain the readiness of the hospital, said the hospital had been a beehive of activities since it commenced operations some months ago.
He also said that the Specialist Hospital was a well-thought-out centre, which would reduce pressure from the Federal Medical Centre in Asaba.

He noted that the hospital was not just about putting up buildings, but putting the place into a functional and operational state to deliver on the mandate of providing healthcare services to Deltans.

Okowa also said the radiology unit was now fully in place and the oxygen plant fully installed, adding that the hospital has become very busy with over 70,000 patients seen with no fewer than 30,000 being children under five years of age and over 200 surgeries already done successfully in the past few months.

Prior to the coming on stream of the specialist hospital, Okwe General Hospital, located on the eastern part of Asaba, off the ever busy Benin-Onitsha highway, was the only State government hospital in the whole of the capital city and was often patronised by people from Anambra State who took advantage of the free maternal health care and free under five treatment in Delta.

On the significance of the new hospital, Governor Okowa said: “There had also been a lot of pressure on the Federal Medical Centre. But with this centre here, I think that we have been able to take off that pressure, because when the pressure is too much, you find out that attending to patients is not good enough and you may lose some, that ordinarily would have been catered for.”

He expressed optimism that the hospital would be beneficial to the people, saying, “I believe that this hospital is going to be very busy and we are doing our best to ensure that we have several specialists either fully employed or coming in on request to see our patients.
“It’s a very functional place and also a hospital where we are putting a part of our services into Public Private Partnership (PPP).
While inaugurating the hospital with his Adamawa State counterpart, Ahmadu Fintiri, Okowa called on the Federal Government to fully operationalise the National Health Act to curb the high rate of maternal and neo-natal mortality in the country.
(PPP) arrangement for efficiency.

“Apart from being a big hospital, we are also in partnership with the private sector in parts of the operations of this hospital. This will enable us to offer services that the government may not efficiently run directly and that is why the radiology unit of this hospital has been out-sourced.

“Today, we have a 125-slide CT-Scan, a digital fluoroscopy X-ray and 4D ultrasound, all functional in this hospital. It also has its own oxygen-generating plant that is functional and reticulated to all the wards in the hospital.

“Beyond the 220 beds, a segment of the hospital was actually given to the 05 Initiative, an initiative of the First Lady of the State; she mobilised private sector funds to equip the centre.

“As at today, it’s only one centre in Lagos that can truly boast of the facilities that we have in the Sickle Cell centre here.

“We have several consultants in different fields and we are still looking for more consultants so that we do not need to transfer any patient out of here on referral,” the governor added.

Inaugurating the hospital, Fintiri commended Governor Okowa for demonstrating great leadership traits, which has culminated to numerous projects being inaugurated across the State.

“I have seen a transformed Asaba, which also rekindles my heart for the country and gives me a more compelling reason to pray for more concessions of responsibilities and resources to the sub-national units of our federation.

“At this time that our nation is at a crossroad, we need to rethink our federalism. No doubt, we have concerns and agitations, but none is insurmountable if only we can have the right leadership with the courage to tinker the structural federalism to do just a little at devolving more power to the States.

“I am convinced that the centre is holding on to so many responsibilities that can best be handled by the States. What I am saying in essence is that there is a need for constitutional review to devolve more powers and resources to the States.

“When we move the powers, let us also move away the resources that the Federal Government controls, back to the States so that we can see real development in place.

“The projects I have seen in Delta, which include this Specialist Hospital being inaugurated today, are clear testimonies that with more devolution of responsibilities and resources to States, so much can be done.

“Concerns can be addressed, nerves can be calmed and a great country that works for everyone will be possible and the economy will trive better,” he stated.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Ejiro Ogheneaga, said that the inauguration of the hospital was an actualisation of the healthcare component in the stronger Delta agenda of the Okowa administration.

He stated that the hospital was designed to offer tertiary healthcare services and serve as a referral centre for secondary and primary healthcare facilities within and outside Delta.

Ogheneaga added that the hospital became operational in February 2019, rendering only outpatient services until September, 2020 when it added in-patient services and had become fully operational, offering 24-hour services.

He also said that the facility contributed immensely as the largest isolation and treatment centre at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the State.

“The hospital is a 220-bed facility with 11 in-patient wards, including Accident and Emergency unit, Children Emergency room, Adult Emergency ward, Intensive care unit, Male and Female Medical wards, Male and Female Surgical wards, Maternity ward, Labour ward, Theatres, Paediatric ward and Neo-natal unit.

“The Laboratory unit, Physiotherapy and Radiology units are being operated under Public-Private-Partnership arrangement. The Radiology unit has a CT-Scan, a digital fluoroscopy X-ray and a 4D- Ultrasound.

Furthermore, the Laboratory, Radiology and Physiotherapy units, are equipped with technologically advanced facilities one of many is the 125 slice Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan and has also carried out 4 successful brain surgeries with the collaborative effort of Locum Consultant neurosurgeon. The facility also has a functional oxygen-generating plant that is reticulated to all the wards.

“There are also facilities for potable water, 11KVA BEDC dedicated line, synchronized with four 1000-KVA generators as back-up and a Medical Oxygen plant reticulated to all the wards.

“In addition, this facility has a Tertiary-level Sickle Cell Anaemia Referral Centre fully equipped with best and modern facilities by the 05 Initiative, which is a laudable project of Her Excellency, Dame Edith Okowa.

With these developments made, Delta becomes the first State in Nigeria to be equipped with the newborn, post newborn and adult screening machines under high performance liquid chromatography, HPL in the same hospital and also boasts of Exchange Blood Transfusion (Apheresis Machine) and the Transcranial Doppler Scan machine which determines stroke risk in children with SCA.

Asaba specialist hospital does not just boast of these medical facilities but also experts in different medical fields serving the needs of a particular realm of care. To mention a few, are the Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Nephrology, Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Public health, Family medicine, Ophthalmology, Anesthesia, Orthopaedic Surgery, Dental Surgery and General Surgery,” he stated.