By Akinola Emmanuel
Chief Dr Azeez Popoola Adeduntan -the OSI BASORUN OF IBADAN LAND foray into politics in 2011 ,no doubt is not just a coincidence ,but a confirmed and established act of God-much thanks to the memory of the late former Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Adeyemi Ajimobi.
Before his eventual coming into the governance of Oyo State, Oyo state health sector was in a state of coma and needed serious and sincere efforts to bring it back to life and so the coming of the International surgeon.
Most of the hospitals had been deserted.Oyo state flagship hospital -Ring Road hospital was abandoned by would be patients and taken over by hoodlums and rapists,and was like a grave yard.
Nothing was functioning including the operating theaters,emergency rooms and outpatient departments.same for ADEOYO YEMETU and other hospitals in oyo state including PRIMARY HEALTH CRNTRES when ADEDUNTAN CAME in on July 17th 2016, as commissioner of health from the USA at the instance of the late ex Governor AJimobi.
In 2017, the state government under the leadership of former Governor Abiola Ajimobi having experienced the shortfall in the allocation coming from Abuja due to the then World economic recession thought of the best way to improve the lives of the common men of the state especially in the area of their health, then an idea came courtesy of Dr Azeez Popoola Adeduntan then as the commissioner of health.
Azeez whose philanthropic gestures dated far before the advent of Ajimobi’s government saw that it would be a better and wider services and will even be more impactful if he made use of his international links and connections to the development of health sector of the state and so came the idea of a “Fifty Billion Naira Endowment Fund” majorly powered by the commissioner himself with the support of his friends.
The aim of the fund raising which was well attended and was held at the prestigious International Conference Centre, University Of Ibadan was to raise fifty billion naira to assist the state in meeting its health needs.
At the fund raising, the highest pledged donation of 100 million naira came from Dr Azeez Popoola Adeduntan’s contact in the United States of America.
To God Be the glory, the proceeds from the event have been so far well utilized and attracted applause and commendations from stakeholders in health sector in Oyo State and even beyond.
THE AGBAMI BUILDING at JERICHO was donated and built by direct Labour by CHEVRON at more than N200 million,now converted to infectious disease center by the current administration.
RIng road hospital got the largest chunk of the fund being the flagship hospital with operating rooms, outpatient and emergency departments rehabilitated,24/7 electricity (no light in 10years,but generators)from AIYEDE National grid,solar inverter outside lighting system,running water system , 24/7 police security,and a befitting approach to the hospital etc.
The MTN WARDS AT ADEOYO YEMETU,OYO, OGBOMOSO,and SHAKI were products of the endowment funds,same with the best conference room in oyo state secretariat,the Ministy of health conference room.
The state health ministry under the leadership of Adeduntan also facilitated bringing together of primary health centres under the same roof for ease of care in Oyo State -an essential requirement for OYO state to tap from the 1% consolidated revenue funds of the Federal GOVERNMENT.
The World revered Cardio Vascular Surgeon also got an approval from the Federal Government ,using his link for a centre for Labour and delivery complications ((Vesico Vaginal Fistula Centre) in Oyo State as the only centre for the six south west states.
Not only that, under his watch, malaria incidence in the state was reduced to 43% unlike the skyrocketed percentage before his assumption to office through distribution of long lasting insecticidal nets and anti malarial prophylaxis for pregnant mothers at no cost to the recipients.
It is important to state unequivocally that throughout the world -Nations health care systems and affluence are no longer judged by per capital income or GDPS but judged by their maternal mortality rate or ratio(number of women dying at child birth, and number of children that die before the first year of birth called infant mortality rate.Both should be rare and few.
The National average for the former is 576/100000 deliveries and the latter 79/1000 live births.
Through various interventions, Adeduntan reduced these two figures to 149/100000 deliveries and 59/1000 live births throughout the 21/2yrs Of his stay as commissioner.
In addition four maternal and paediatric hospitals were established to provide state of the art facilities for women and children -the bed rock of any society located at Jericho(2)-olodo, and shaki.
The one at olodo had been converted by current administration into infectious disease/covid 19 treatments centre.
Since a building does not make a hospital,but staff working there-Adeduntan also helped oyo state health in capacity building as evidenced below :
Through his wife’s Organization and other links in the USA(NWAG)-Adeduntan facilitated the donation of 2million dollars(about one billion naira ) worth of equipments and materials to oyo state GOVERNMENT hospitals on March 22nd 2017 at no cost to the GOVERNMENT including freight and delivery.
Adeoyo Yemetu hospital was reaccredited as a teaching hospital by the National post graduate medical council as a teaching hospital through the intervention of DR ADEDUNTAN,same with transformation of oyo state schools of nursing and heath technology respectively into colleges with satellite campuses at KISHI and oke HO respectively.
In all these, the efforts of Chief Dr Azeez Popoola Adeduntan didn’t go unnoticed as he was adjudged By AJIMOBI himself as his best commissioner on May 30th 2017 during the launch of oyo state health insurance scheme.
His assertion was previously confirmed by miss oyo pageant-silverstone communication on January 2nd 2017 and later by ODUA MAGAZINE as best commissioner regardless of portfolio in the south west in their special edition of September/October 2017.
His imperial majesty -the OLUBADAN OF IBADAN LAND among many reasons capped his glorious exit from the ministry of health (as KABIYESI was present despite his advanced age at all functions invited)with a traditional,organic chieftaincy title of modern day osi Basorun of ibadan land -a warrior and prime minister of the ancient Olubadans .
It is unarguable by any well meaning oyo state indigenes that ADEDUNTAN HAD TAKEN OYO STATE health care delivery system from Coma and life support machine into a self breathing institution that still needs assistance to transform it into a center of excellence.
Only those that knew the past can appreciate the present.it was bad and horrible health care delivery system that now wears a better look just after two and half years only of adeduntan services.
This great man of Class, Valour and Success has been asset to the people of Oyo State and indeed Nigeria as a whole. It then becomes important for the people of the pace setter state to ensure that the man Azeez Popoola Adeduntan gets all support to put the state in the map of the world by clamouring for his eventual coming by 2023.