By Folasade Adeniran
Lagos – President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Lagos inaugurated the Institute of Maternal and Child Health (Ayinke House), located within the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja.
Buhari, shortly on arrival at the venue at 10.58 a.m, did the unveiling of the plaque and cutting of the tape, and thereafter took a tour of the facility accompanied by Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State.
He was also accompanied by Governors Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Rotimi Akerodolu of Ondo and Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, among others.
Buhari is in Lagos to inaugurate some projects executed by the State Government.
Aside the Maternity, the President will inaugurate other projects including the Lagos Theatre, Oshodi Transport Interchange and International Airport Road as well as 820 Mass Transit buses.
Speaking at the Ayinke House inauguration, Ambode described the development as historic, expressing optimism that the facility would provide world class childbirth and maternal care services to Lagosians and Nigerians at large.
Recalling how the journey began, he said the facility was commissioned exactly 29 years ago, with the late philanthropist, Sir Mobolaji Bank-Anthony donating the first dedicated maternal and child care facility to the State Government, in memory of his mother; hence the christened name “Ayinke House”.
He said the hospital, which started with just one surgical theatre, soon assumed a life of its own as a first-class childbirth and maternal care centre in the health sector of Nigeria, as well as first choice for expectant mothers.
The governor said that the hospital, however, later became over-stretched beyond capacity and somehow obsolete, hence, in recognition of the need to sustain Bank-Anthony’s philanthropy, the State Government, during the administration of former Governor Babatunde Fashola, awarded the contract for the expansion and reconstruction of the facility.
“Today, seven years after the closure of the facility, the new edifice is now a 170-bed facility with five surgical theatres.
“It has a 16-bed emergency care unit with three organ support facilities, 30-bed special baby care unit, five neo-natal intensive care units, a fully equipped laboratory with support services, laboratories and a blood bank.
“Beyond the significance for the health sector, this institute is a major contribution to our education sector also; as it becomes a veritable platform for our medical students in the State University to enhance their exposure and experience with the top-class medical equipment provided,” Ambode said.
He said that Ayinke House had also been completely digitalised with state-of-the-art medical equipment as well as information technology services supported by the State Ministry of Science and Technology.
Ambode said in view of President Buhari’s determination of making universal and basic primary healthcare one of the cardinal priorities of his administration, the State Government, under him, had consciously worked to bring quality, affordable and modern healthcare to all our citizenry, among other initiatives in the health sector.
“Just last year, we launched the Lagos State Health Insurance Scheme to allow residents access top quality medical care with a little contribution and support from the State government.
“These and other efforts are directed at improving the lives of our people, especially the women and children; and by extension the productivity of our nation,” he said.
While congratulating President Buhari on his resounding victory at the recent presidential election, Ambode thanked him for finding time to personally commission Ayinke House and other projects in the state.
He said that the completion of the projects would not have been possible without the President’s support, administrative direction and encouragement.
The Lagos State Commissioissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, said that the new Anyike House, Ikeja, would have positive impact on the workforce, productivity and economy of the country.
Idris said: “Some years back, we developed a policy to reduce the maternal and neonatal mortality rates, because it was totally unacceptable to us.
“In doing that, we try to find the reasons why; we call it three delays: First delay is due to ignorance, lack of education, especially women in the rural areas, who do not have the knowledge of what is happening.
“We needed to do educate them so that at least, if they become pregnant, they will be able to take care of themselves.
“The idea is that we are going to reduce Maternal morality rates; we will have healthier mothers who can now look after our children and make them responsible citizens.
“If you look at the population, 60 per cent are children; If we can look after these children, they are going to grow up to be healthier human beings,” he said.
Idris said that it cost the government approximately, about six billion naira to renovate the Ayinke house including construction, equipment and the information technology system within the building.
According to him, the facility is supposed to be the highest level of care with respect to maternal and child health in the state.
“This place has five theatres, which is state-of-the-art; so you can do gynaecological and obstetrics surgeries. So we are adding five theatres to the whole of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja.
“The idea is to provide those facilities where such problems can be dealt with and to reduce the mortality rates,” the commissioner said.
Also, the Chief Medical Director, LASUTH, Prof. Adetokunbo Fabamwo, said that the government had in 2018 recruited a total of 250 additional staff for the new Ayinke house.
Fabamwo said: “We have 21 consultant obstetricians and gynaecologists and about 30 resident doctors that are going to work here.
“This is a 170-bed hospital and it is going to be massive; it is going to be a lot of work, so we need a lot of hands on deck.“
In his remarks, the President, Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON), Dr Oluwarotimi Akinola said that the new house would increase the hospital’s capacity.
According to him, the challenge that has faced maternal and child care has been inadequate capacity installed in the country.
“When we talk about maternal mortality, part of the problem can be seen in three major steps including the person wanting to seek care, access and get it.
“The problem is that we do not have enough capacity installed even in the country; so, sometimes you get to the facility, because it is not well constructed due to limitations, we will not be able to achieve much.
“But as Ayinke is coming on stream, at least, we know that in Lagos, we are going to have that upper edge again, which will substantially diminish the pressure on Island Maternity Hospital.
“It is a step toward the right direction, “ Akinola said.