By Aminu Musawa, Katsina
Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari has expressed regrets over the refusal of the Federal Ministry of Health to allow the state government acquire and convert the Federal Medical Centre.The state government had wanted use the facility to serve as teaching hospital for the state-owned Umar Musa Yar’Adua University.
Lamenting how the action has impacted negatively on the school, Masari said it has slowed down the dream of his administration to develop the health sector.
In an interactive session with the media, on Sunday, Masari revealed that his administration has commenced a programme that will at the end of the day, ensure that the state after several years of its creation get a deserving Teaching Hospital that will serve the state-owned university to offer courses in medicine.
According to him, over 600 medical staff will soon be recruited to serve in the health facilities that are already being put in place in the state.
Masari further explained that his dream was to ensure that before the end of his first tenure, the state-owned University would have commenced a department of Medicine, with a befitting Teaching Hospital, adding that, “in the page we are now, even the Federal Ministry of Health cannot stop us.”
He further stated that: “You know, we are very much concerned about our Eye Centre, we want to develop this Eye Centre to a department so that it can click into our plan of developing the supposed Specialist Hospital into a full-fledged Teaching Hospital.
“Right now, we have commissioned our consultants to come out with clear reasons why we are developing a Teaching Hospital. We are doing this because we have a university called the Katsina state university. This is a university which has started preparations to do Medicine and you cannot do Medicine without a Teaching Hospital.
“When we contacted the Federal Ministry of Health to see the possibilities of allowing the University to use the Federal Medical Centre, that is, to upgrade the Federal Medical Centre as a Teaching Hospital; they replied us that since we have a University in Katsina state, and probably in the future that University may start offering Medicine and will want the services of a Federal Medical Centre.
“So, in effect, they were saying that they will not give us! And so, the best option for us is to see how we are going to upgrade our own health facilities. Now, luckily enough, we have started working on Katsina General Hospital; and we have also contacted sons of Katsina state who are experts in the medical field.”
He further stated that: “We have also made an advert for the recruitment of over 600 medical staff. And right now, we have employed the services of consultants. They are professionals in the medical field and they are going to offer professional services. Now, we are doing that, even in other sectors.
“For instance, in our own University—the Umar Musa Yar’Adua University wants to start offering medical courses; and you cannot operate a department of Medicine without a standard Teaching Hospital. For this reason, we wrote to the Federal Ministry of Health, because Gombe was given a Federal Medical Hospital and it was updated to Teaching Hospital; Ebonyi was also given.
“So, on the basis of these two experiences, we wrote, and the Federal Ministry of Health replied us that they cannot, because they also have a Federal institution right in the future in need of services of a Federal Medical Centre. Now, I came back home, and say to myself—why we can’t start looking at what we have and see how we can upgrade them.
“So, we invited our own professionals, and again, we have also invited international consultants, that will come and see how we can harmonize working with their own professionals because, like I told you, once you have somebody who was a Managing Director of a Teaching Hospital for eight years, and as a Vice Chancellor of a University for eight years, he is sufficiently equipped.
“You have somebody who is managing a Teaching Hospital now in Sokoto who is also from Katsina; we feel he is sufficiently experienced to offer advice. And we have a Professor, also from Katsina, who was the immediate past Vice Chancellor and he has headed the ABU (Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria), Teaching Hospital. These three and from between them, they can give us a report that nobody can beat. And the good part of it is that it will be free-of-charge because they are Katsina indigenes.
“So, we are working. The General Hospital and the supposedly Orthopedic Specialist Hospital and the Eye Centre—we are also looking at upgrading the Dental Clinic in Daura to international standard. From what we have done to that Dental Clinic already, we can even do a Degree programme there on Dentistry.
“So, if we look at raising that Department; and with an Eye Centre as a department, we can have a very good Teaching Hospital that can serve our own University which we believe is better. It may take us two to three years, but it is better, and that is what we are starting now. We are projecting to have a Teaching Hospital that we can call our own, that can work with our own university,” he concluded.