Osun Health Sector: The Cuba template at work
At a life expectancy of 77 years for men and 81 for women in 2016, Cuba easily passes for one of the few countries recognized by the World Health Organization, WHO, as a leader in total healthcare delivery. The global body says in view of verifiable indices, Cuba’s health sector is ‘’close or equal to those in developed countries.’’
Indeed little Cuba’s life expectancy rate is higher than that of the giant called the United States of America, which stands at 72.5/71.9. Cuba has also succeeded in eliminating dreaded plagues like polio, tuberculosis, typhoid fever and diphtheria, diseases still the scourge of a number of developed nations. These impressive statistics lead many to describe Cuba as “World Medical Power’’.
What is the magic? It’s really no magic, but a disciplined application of scarce resources concentrated on the community health.
That’s what the Administration of All Progressives Congress, APC now under the leadership of our Governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola has set about doing quietly in the health sector in the state of Osun in nearly two years since he’s been in office. Seeing resources are dwindling in the face of vast challenges, and given his belief in the doctrine, mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body), Oyetola is driven by passion to go the Cuban trajectory.
The results, contrary to misleading propagandist outbursts of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have seen Osun move light years away from the way the people were, in the days PDP was in charge for 90 months. Only the blind bats of this opposition group, which squandered the enormous funds it had, would fail to see what the APC government is doing to change the health narrative of Osun.
Thus, to date, the government has revitalized the Primary Health Centres (PHCs) across the state. Commissioner for Health, Rafiu Isamotu, identified 258 PHCs now enjoying a huge lift as a result of the new intervention. He said at an inter-ministerial news briefing in Osogbo that these fully kitted centres are already delivering services to both rural and urban dwellers, chiefly the poorest of the poor. He said as part of sustaining these bright start, the School of Nursing and Midwifery in Asubiaro, Osogbo, has been accredited for an intake of 75 students, from a paltry 30. So, the school can train more nurses for the community health drive of the government.
There’re also measures targeted directly at the people. One such is Osun Health Insurance Scheme, OHIS. Oyetola has approved the establishment of OHIS Drug Distribution Centre now supplying medicines and consumables to 16 OHIS accredited health facilities. This will end the perennial out-of-stock syndrome of medicines in the hospitals.
One more word on the emerging people-focused health policy of the government of Osun: as a way of accommodating the ultra-vulnerable in OHIS, Oyetola has released N477,912,310 as premium for the enrolment of these classes of citizens. It is yielding fruit. Under the project, 50 surgical operations have been performed. Beneficiaries? The poor. Unemployed. Self-employed. And government workers.
The health revolution in Cuba the world is hailing started this way: taking care of the primary needs of the people at the community level.
Osun will also get there, despite the jejune gyrations of the opposition in the media, attacking the health policies of the APC administration.
OYATOMI, a lawyer/journalist, speaks for APC in the state of Osun