TEXT OF A SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE CHIEF MEDICAL DIRECTOR OF UCH, PROFESSOR JESSE ABIODUN OTEGBAYO AT THE COMMISSIONING OF THE CHIEF TUNDE AFOLABI INFECTIOUS DISEASE CENTRE ON FRIDAY, 14TH AUGUST 2020.
Your Excellency, the Governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde,
The Provost of the College of Medicine,
The Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee,
The Director of Administration,
The Director, Finance and Accounts,
The Chairman, UCH Health Foundation,
The Chairman, Josephus Foundation,
Members of the Press,
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen.
My tenure of office took effect from march 1st, 2019 and prior to that day, I had a blueprint that I intended to implement, which included care of our personnel, patients, partnership, public perception, projects and participation. But the big question that lingered on my mind then was “how will I implement these policies and programs in the face of dwindling resources?” This caused me to consider the external support option as a way of restoring the flagship status of the hospital.
We owe our modest successes to a partnership anchored on our mantra of shared vision for excellence. Certainly, this excellence-driven-partnership is evident in improving the healthcare service delivery in our Hospital and that is why we are here today.
I took time sometime in April 2019 to reach out to kind-hearted Nigerians to seek for ways to support the University College Hospital, Ibadan to improve our services and infrastructure. The dividends of our efforts are coming in, and the event of today is one of them.
This administration established the UCH Health Foundation, under the chairmanship of Dr. Olutoyin Okeowo, a renowned business man and a great philanthropist. We discussed with him and he keyed into our vision and mission. The Chairman then carefully chose other members of the board of trustees of the Foundation. The Chairman and the board of trustees have been so magnanimous with their interventions which have been of great impact to the Hospital. Indeed, the help has been tremendous and your names will go down well in the annals of UCH.
When the COVID 19 pandemic broke out, health institutions all over the world were overwhelmed with challenges of how to manage the strange disease, which till today, its virology hasn’t been well known and no cure has been found. We received donations from the Federal Government through the NCDC, the Oyo State Government, wealthy Nigerians, alumni groups of UCH Staff, Students, unions and individuals. The members of the board of trustees of the UCH Foundation surprised us with donation of protective equipment and consumables worth millions of Naira.
But the single largest donation is the Chief Tunde Afolabi Infectious Disease Centre that is being commissioned today. I am glad to announce to this August gathering that this was graciously facilitated by the UCH Health Foundation.
At this point, let me recognize the input of the Chairman, Josephus Foundation, our highly distinguished Chief Tunde Afolabi. He is a great philanthropist, and I understand that he sees service to God and humanity as priorities.
A former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Prof. Oladapo Afolabi who has been mediating on the project is highly appreciated. Having served at the highest level in the Civil Service, he remains a valuable asset to the country even in retirement.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to announce that today, the University College Hospital, Ibadan, the flagship teaching Hospital in Nigeria and the West African Sub-region is commissioning a 20-bed state-of-the-art infectious disease center.
I have it on good authority that this edifice is a tip of the iceberg in what the donors of this building has in the pipeline for the hospital.
I also want to thank the Oyo State Government, particularly his Excellency, Engineer Seyi Makinde who is the Chairman of the Oyo State COVID-19 task force for supporting the Hospital through various generous donations he had approved in the fight against COVID-19 infection.
Your Excellency, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I want to say at this juncture that no government, at any level can tackle the problems in the health sector alone They are enormous and overwhelming. Sometimes, the society look helpless when challenges like the COVID 19 pandemic break out. It is at such times that our inadequacies stare us in the face. But with interventions from public-spirited Nigerians like the donors of this facility, and an assemblage of focused Nigerians like in the UCH Health Foundation, there is a great hope for better days in the health sector.
I will like to conclude by thanking our generous donors, and appeal to all our stakeholders with the milk of human kindness, to support this administration in order to take better care of the citizens of Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigerians and global citizens in general.
God bless you,
God bless the University College Hospital, Ibadan.