**Says Medical Services Cannot Be Free In Rivers
Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State says his administration has spent N9 billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery is a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Governor Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH on Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best will be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers state government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Governor Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Governor Wike however, commended the Chief Medical Director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Former Minister of Transportation, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag off, noted that Governor Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former Governors of the state had done.
Dr. Sekibo said that Governor Wike has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that is positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Professor Princewill Chike lauded Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the Renal Centre, when completed, will become another landmark developmental project in the health sector that will would handle and manage all kidney related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron commended Governor Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease is a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria. According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that will house the centre is expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors. The ground floor, according to him, will house the hemodialysis unit with 8 hemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre will house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant will be installed.
Aaron said Governor Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.