The Oyo State government on Wednesday insisted that it supported the University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan, to the tune of N118 million in the fight against COVID-19, despite the hospital saying it received no money from the government.
Taiwo Adisa, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, restated the government’s claim via a statement in Ibadan on Thursday.
Mr Adisa said that records made available by the Oyo State Commissioner for Finance, Akinola Ojo, confirmed that the state government provided support to the UCH and the University of Ibadan’s Department of Virology located inside the College to the tune of the said sum.
Premium Times had earlier reported the government’s claim of the expenditure on the federal tertiary health facility.
Mr Adisa said the government spent the N118 million on varied needs of the Department of Virology, College of Medicine and the University College Hospital.
He said the attempt by the management of the UCH to disown the Department of Virology, which serves as the teaching and research department in the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan as well as provides Clinical Services to the UCH, is “self-serving, artificial and contemptuous.”
He said workers of the Department hold identity cards of the UCH and that of the University of Ibadan.
“The state government is of the view that attempts to create thin lines between the Department of Virology, College of Medicine, which provides Clinical Services to the UCH and operates from the same premises as the Hospital, amount to being clever by half, because in practical terms, the divorce cannot just hold.
“Staffers of the Department hold identity cards of the UCH and that of the University of Ibadan, even as the Department remains the only one that undertakes Virology-related assignments for the UCH.”
He said since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state government has provided medical supplies to the UCH, including 500 each of googles, protective gowns and face shields; 250 each of full protective, head covers & shoe covers; and 200 hand gloves, amounting to N2 million.
Mr Adisa further stated that the state government also provided a revolving fund to the tune of N5 million to the UCH for treatment of residents of Oyo State who tested positive to COVID-19. The amount is being topped each time the hospital spends up to N4 million on the patients.
Besides, he said based on a list specifically prepared and presented to the state government by the Chief Medical Director of the UCH, Jesse Otegbayo, the state government procured medical supplies to the tune of N25 million for delivery to the hospital.
“That the supplier is just about to deliver the said items is an evidence of the protocols related to movement schedules of all items within the environment of a global pandemic,” Mr Adisa added.
He said the supplies include goggles, PPE gowns and boots,
“In all, the total amount spent indirectly supporting the UCH (based on the artificial distinction) so far stood at N32 million, while the balance of N86 million constituted what has been spent to support the Department of Virology, which is the direct partner with the state on the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In order to clarify the referenced N118 million support, it is important to first of all state that we were made aware of a distinction between the University College Hospital (UCH) and the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan.
“Oyo State Government has provided support to both institutions during this COVID-19 pandemic”.
UCH on Wednesday had denied receiving N118 million from the state government.
The spokesperson of the hospital, Toye Akinrinlola, when asked for comments in the light of Mr Adisa’s clarifications, insisted that the state government did not support UCH.
In a telephone conversation with Premium Times Wednesday evening, Mr Akinrinlola also insisted that there is a distinction between UCH and College of Medicine, saying the two belong to different ministries.
“Let me say this. The state government is playing around the issues. They should know that there is a distinction between UCH and College of Medicine.
“College of Medicine belongs to UI which is under the Federal Ministry of Education, while UCH is under the Federal Ministry of Health.
“If the government is supporting the Virology Department, that means that the government is supporting the College of Medicine which is under the University of Ibadan.”
We returned N5 million you gave us for accreditation- College of Medicine
The College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, on Wednesday also denied receiving N118 million from the state government.
Ikeoluwapo Moody, Deputy Registrar and Secretary to the College, in a statement Wednesday night, said the state government initially gave the college five million naira (N5m) for setting up a laboratory.
He, however, said the college returned the money to the state government when the accreditation was not forthcoming.
“To set the record straight, the Oyo state government initially gave the College of Medicine five million naira to run the Biorepository and Clinical Virology Laboratory set up for the purpose of testing COVID-19 patients.
“However, when the accreditation by the NCDC was not forthcoming, the N5 million was returned to the Oyo state government to help in fighting against the pandemic in the state.
“I, therefore, wish to state that the College of Medicine did not receive money to the tune of N118 million from the Oyo state government.”