IBOM SPECIALIST HOSPITAL: SETTING THE RECORDS STRAIGHT

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The Memorandum Of Understanding, MOU for the management of Ibom Specialist Hospital in Uyo between the Akwa Ibom State Government and the consulting firm managing the top class health institution, Cardio Care Medical Services, is set to be reviewed.

The new MOU is to enable the hospital function optimally by providing affordable and best medical services to the people in line with the dream and vision envisaged while setting up the hospital.

The State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel announced this at Government House, Uyo while speaking on the alleged closure of the hospital by the State Government as reported by a section of the media.

Governor Emmanuel who apparently expressed displeasure over the inability of the current hospital management to keep to the letters of the MOU earlier signed, said government did not renege on giving utmost support to the hospital when the need arose.

Speaking in specific terms, the Governor emphasized, “immediately we took over in 2015, we released 5 million dollars Takeoff Working Capital, I repeat, 5 million dollars Takeoff Working Capital”.

The Governor said he later paid another 250 million naira on request by the managers in addition to 1 billion naira paid in the last quarter of 2015 to the hospital equipment suppliers. “Everything I have spent in this hospital, I have full records” Governor Emmanuel stressed.

Similarly, the initial payment of 50 million naira made to the hospital for the treatment of those affected by the collapsed Reigners Bible Church building in 2016 was to further attract 180 million naira.

During the first quarter of 2017, the sum of 300 million naira was again paid to the equipment suppliers by the Governor as well as salaries to some Consultants in the hospital who, according to him, were not budgeted for.

“Most of the Consultants were not paid, I discussed with Dr Yemi Johnson who represents Cardio Care, I said ok, some of those best Consultants that we have, I can pay them out of imprest in my office since they were not appropriated for. I don’t mind, I can surrender the imprest in my office so that those people don’t go. I have the vouchers of those releases on my imprest in my office” The Governor explained.

The Governor said he had to provide the needed funds in good faith to ensure that the hospital was still running but expressed surprise that when government started reconciling issues, it was discovered that so many things were not working in the hospital.

Mr Emmanuel observed, “Cardio Care Medical Services had not prepared and delivered to the state government a detailed statement of revenues received and expenditures incurred and paid during the calendar year that results from the operation of the property” contrary to the provisions of the MOU.

He highlighted best practices that must be followed by those who venture into asset management, especially those without equity contributions to the asset, stressing that such standard practices become obligatory to the managers.

Governor Emmanuel said he was surprised to read some media reports that the Ibom Specialist Hospital was locked adducing several reasons.

He dispelled such insinuations, noting that the issue had to do with the business content, the doctrine and nature of managing the business in line with global best practices.

The State Chief Executive spoke in glowing terms about his predecessor saying that the past administration did its utmost in establishing the quaternary hospital, first of its kind in Africa adding that the cordiality of his relationship with Senator Godswill Akpabio is superlative, contrary to media speculation.

“Let people not just go to town, try to cause problems. Atimes people just try to link it with present administration and past administration, Sorry!! we are not into that kind of game. It has nothing to do with Udom Emmanuel, it’s not an individual thing. This is real business, I want to run it very well so that our people can benefit from it”.

He added, “We must bring everything to bear to make sure that we get this place to run and run with best practices”.

Also Speaking, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong said an earlier meeting with Cadio Care Medical Services based on complains about challenges they faced in managing the hospital had resolved to set aside the old MOU for a new one.

The Commissioner said while he was expecting to discuss in details the proposed demand for scaling down of activities by the hospital management alongside the price list of different treatments they were handling, he never heard from them again.

Dr Ukpong explained that a lawyer told him about the withdrawal of services by the hospital managers a couple of weeks ago which he later confirmed in a letter routed to his office and dated 21st September, 2017.

He however announced that there were investors with interest in the Ibom Specialist Hospital whom he had taken to the facility for assessment but could not access some rooms that were still being locked by the mangers.

Fielding questions from Journalists, The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Cardio Care Medical Services/ Managers of Ibom Specialist Hospital, Dr Yemi Johnson who sat by the Governor, said what happened was not a permanent shutdown.

Dr Johnson who did not deny knowledge of the amount paid so far by Governor Emmanuel to his management team said they ran into difficulties following the crash in oil prices, economic recession and devaluation of the naira which made the original model difficult to function.

He complained that those factors militated against the running of the hospital the way it was originally planned and stressed that revenues generated in the hospital, made up of mostly foreign staff, were not matching the expenses hence the shutdown.

The Manager pointed out that they did not make any press statement concerning their operations in the hospital saying that nobody in his right frame of mind would want to abandon a place like Ibom Specialist Hospital.

He said the rumours of lack of equipments in the hospital were unfounded and should be disregarded.

The Managing Director assured the people that they were in a process of seeing what other models would work in running the hospital adding that several meetings were being held to find a way forward.

The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Uwemedimo Nwoko, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Charles Udoh and The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Ekerete Udoh, joined the State Chief Executive at the meeting.

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