The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his administration is changing the narrative in the State’s education and health sectors, noting that the holistic reforms in the sectors will help Nigeria save the $40 billion spent to access healthcare and education.

Governor Obaseki stated this while fielding questions from journalists in Benin City, the Edo State capital after an inspection tour of the State-owned Stella Obasanjo Hospital, and the Edo State School of Health Technology, which are currently being upgraded to world-class standards.

He said his administration is changing the healthcare narrative in the State, making the State capital a healthcare hub by improving the health infrastructure and bringing it to a world-class standard.

According to Obaseki, “As a government, we promised the people to change the narrative of the health sector in the State. We are making Edo and Benin in particular a healthcare hub by making sure we improve the health infrastructure and bring it up to world-class standards.

“Healthcare is more about services and human capacity. While we are emphasising the hospital, the primary health care centers and clinics, we are also ensuring that we create the institutions that will train the quality people we need to provide the quality care.

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“The School of Health Technology is supposed to provide manpower for our primary healthcare system and our healthcare system as a whole. This is why we are making it a priority and making sure that the infrastructure is ready on time for accreditation so that we can start the institution afresh before I leave office.”

On the progress of the revamp of the Stella Obasanjo Hospital, the governor said, “the Out-Patient Department (OPD) is ready and the Inpatient Department is still under construction, with the wards, facilities, operational theaters and full complement of infrastructure to provide services across a wide range of areas.

“The challenge is that if we open the OPD and bring in a consultant and they want to perform a procedure, we would not want to send them to other facilities. We are re-working the delivery schedule to make sure that we know clearly when the inpatient department will be ready to enable us to synchronise and open one section three months before the other and not allow a long period before opening both.”

On repositioning the State’s health and education to save Nigeria the over $40 billion spent on education and medical tourism, Obaseki noted, “As a country, we are in crisis. In the papers, the Central Bank Governor said Nigeria spent over $40 billion dollars accessing healthcare and educational services abroad. No normal or serious country should behave like that.

“This is what we are trying to change in Edo State. We are working to create a healthcare system and educational institution that will rank and can compete with top institutions and healthcare systems in the world. This is to ensure that we remain in the country rather than traveling abroad to obtain these services. This will lead to waste of valuable foreign exchange that will have been conserved for other developmental needs.”

He added, “The need is here, the demand is here, the personnel are here. We have always trained people to provide quality healthcare. The state has trained doctors in the last 50 years but we took our eyes off the ball and allowed things to degenerate to where we are today.

“Our goal is to change the politics that brought us here. Some of the characters parading themselves as politicians, they have used their attitude to draw us back but we are waiting for them.”