By Kehinde Akinfenwa
Globally, there are edifices that hold profound admiration of people either by virtue of their iconic status or their value to human aspirations. These edifices exist with stories on how they transcend to become an accomplice of peoples fortune. In Lagos, one of those memorial structures that have garnered people’s affection over the years is Ayinke House. Ayinke House is a multispecialty medical centre managed by the State government to provide comprehensive maternal services and professional training for medical students and resident doctors in the State.
This maternal and child centre donated by the late Sir Mobolaji Bank Anthony and named after his mother at the premises of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, is a fortress for pre and post-natal services and women’s reproductive health care as well as the bedrock of obstetric practices nationwide. The centre was a regular birthplace for many residents that hardly could one finds a Lagos home without a child being delivered in the house. It became so symbolic that many Lagosians unknowingly refer to the whole LASUTH complex as Ayinke House.
In 2010, after it became obvious that the structure and its facilities could not withstand the demands from the public, as a result of its overwhelming patronage within and outside Lagos, the past administration approved the renovation and upgrade of the centre, prompting the closure of significant part of its maternal and obstetrics care services. Thereafter, government awarded the rebuilding contract to a constructing firm with stipulated period of time for its completion. But disappointedly, certain inevitable challenges frustrated the project which since then has limited the centre to run only the gynecological care (the care for diseases that affect women), excluding childbirth and pregnancy related illnesses.
Following critical inquisition and strategic engagement to resuscitating the enduring project, the present administration began its reconstruction in 2016, while pledging to make it a landmark project with sufficient apparatus that would dispense first class services to citizens. The sight of the reconvened contractor enthralled the citizens as they were eager to enjoy qualitative healthcare which the centre is incipiently known for. Meanwhile, as the reconstruction was going on; other state government came to understudy the composition of the project and the array of dignitaries that besiege the home during its official commissioning by President Muhammadu Buhari makes the general feelings ominous.
Without doubt, the intention of the State government in making Ayinke House an ultra-modern and biggest maternity hospital in the country is to broaden the accessibility of comprehensive and consistent reproductive and maternal services. This is a passionate way of improving the profile of maternal and neonatal mortality and mobility nationwide. While taking into cognizance the luxury this intelligent healthcare infrastructure would offer the state and the country at the state government accentuated that the stability of the health sector remains an incentive to building an enterprising society.
An insightful diagnoses of the project will leave no one in doubt that Lagos State government put a lot of commitment and resources to ensuring the facility lacks nothing for optimal service delivery and to be ranked alongside maternal and teaching hospitals in other parts of the world. The centre which originally has 80-bed capacity has now been expanded to 170 with medical facilities to behold. The entrails of this new super ultra-modern hospital is adorned with standard equipment that include; 30 incubators; all with oxygen delivery system capability, neonatal life support, five operating theatres and oxygen plants as well as a special space for challenged newborn requiring intensive care. This facility for intensive care can effectively deliver and support pre-organ treatment with a capacity of 16 beds and very high-dependency unit that incorporates a theatre to attend to emergencies.
By completely digitalizing its operation with the state-of-the-art medical equipment and high-level information technology services, this foremost tertiary medical institution represent a major prospect in the country`s quest to be self-reliance in maternal and child health. While it presents a veritable avenue to connect global partners in the pursuit of synergetic management of women and child lifecycle, it is also an opportunity to mobilize domestic resources in solving emerging health infractions.
In order to allay the probable fear of workforce deficiency, the government has approved the intake of qualified medical personnel across board even before the completion of the facility as doctors, nurses, midwives, surgeons and other specialized staff have been incorporated into the operations.
Furthermore, the house which for years has been the nucleus of the teaching hospital in the training of medical students both at the undergraduate level and at the residency level for doctors can now optimally provide a highly specialized system of training, particularly in the field of obstetrics, gynecology and other allied fields like family medicine. Thus, the capacity of LASUTH Postgraduate Medical College’s as a high-ranking medical institution in the world has been elevated. On the strength of its technical and human capability, the teaching institution is now an arable terrain for medical practitioners to embark on conventional biomedical and clinical research towards expanding the knowledge of reproductive health and sharing the discoveries worldwide to improve medical outcome.
Its candor towards emitting comparative policies and programmes put the State government at the frontier of good governance in the country. With an established effective health policies fashioned to advance equitable access to medical system and technologies, the city can now engage the future with hope and confidence. Since the health institution serves as the mechanical and social thread that binds the society to the realm of development and being an inevitable contingent of the smart city desire, the government remains perpetually faithful to meet the physical and emotional demands of its populace.
More importantly, effective use of resources to improve multiple health services is pivotal to meeting the sustainable development goals. Thus, as the Federal and other states government revel in the admiration of this impactful project, they are encouraged to exemplify this brand of salutary investment to achieve the universal health coverage for women and children.
Akinfenwa is of the Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja