Okeho General Hospital: Another morbid health institution

Okeho community is renowned to be a part of the history of colonial and post-colonial Nigeria. We are a crucial part of the politics of Oyo state. The area was known as Okeho/Iganna district council, which was created in 1955 with 36 wards in the defunct western region of Nigeria. In 1976, Kajola local government was created, with headquarters at Okeho as a result of the local government reforms. The local government is one of the 33 local governments in Oyo state, the major towns in Kajola LG are Ilero, Ilua, Ayetoro-oke, Isemi ile, Iwere-oke, Ilaji-oke and other hamlets.

The General Hospital, Okeho, was commissioned by the then military governor of Oyo state, Col. Adetunji Olurin, on June 11, 1987. It is one of the pioneer general hospitals in the state. While going through the facilities it was seen that the administration of the late Governor Lam Adesina also commissioned some projects in 2000. Unfortunately, within the space of 33 and 20 years of commissioning these facilities, respectively, the hospital has become a morbid secondary healthcare institution.

The hospital, being one of the oldest in the state, with the best structure, is grossly underutilised and wasting away, located on a large expanse of land at the entry of the town cum junction that leads to other neighbouring communities, the hospital has become a shadow of itself. In fact, the people of Okeho and environs can attest to the fact that this hospital does not provide affordable, accessible and high quality medicare. People have either of these two choices- visiting private health service providers within their localities or move to the state capital, Ibadan- when they need medicare.

At the moment, the two major storey buildings within the hospital, the administrative and female/children’s ward have their roofs blown off. When I attempted to climb the stairs, I was almost stung by wasps and on getting upstairs; bats flew out of one of the rooms. What sort of equipment would be in an uncovered building?

From what I can see the laboratory in this hospital is working but one can be sure that it is just the basic tests that would be carried out here. All of these attest to the overall “commitment” of the government to the welfare of her citizenry. Equally, the waste disposal method is also sordid; it’s all emptied in a shoddy pit and burnt periodically. It should not be too much to build an incinerator for proper disposal.

Aside from the dilapidated buildings, there are also a lot of uncompleted buildings. The truth be told, if this sort of facility was located in any urban area, it would have been overtaken by hoodlums. I would agree that indigenes and residents of Okeho might not be able to pay heavily but if they get value for their money, they would pay their bills.

It’s unfortunate that we are experiencing two forms of economic wastage with this abandoned facility- the hospital’s inability to generate employment and the abandoned structure that has not been profitable to either government or the community. There is a need for successive governments to complete all projects, regardless of party affiliations.

I acknowledge the selfless service of staff in this very unconducive environment. It is only committed individuals that can give their best in this type of working environment when professionals are exiting the country for better climes.

We need to start with at least a functional building well equipped. We deserve more in Okeho, our relevance should transcend every four years when the political class are jostling for office. We need hospitals that are equipped in Okeho and Oke-Ogun in general. There is no need rushing people to tertiary healthcare facilities in Ogbomoso or Ibadan before they can have quality medicare.

Olutayo Irantiola, Ogbinte, Okeho, Oyo state

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