Health & lifestyle

I feel fulfilled being the first CMD at the Medical Village, Ondo – Dr. Lawal Oyeneyin.

Dr. Oyeneyin is the former CMD of Mother and Child Hospital Ondo. He took time to narrate his experience and challenges as the pioneer CMD of the Medical village Ondo in an interview with EkimogunMirror Crew led by Bankole Walter. Excerpts below:

Can we meet you sir?

My name is Dr Lawal Oyeneyin, a Consultant Gynecologist and the pioneer Chief Medical Director of Mother and Child Hospital in Ondo. I have been disengaged since last year as the Chief Medical Director.

What has been your experience as the pioneer CMD of Mother and Child hospital, Ondo and the first Landlord of the Medical Village?

I do feel a sense of fulfillment, if I am to use one phrase. It’s a thing of joy to sow a seed and watch it develop in line with one’s initial vision. In August 2010 the Governor brought some stakeholders to this area of Ondo city (formerly Ondo town) and shared with us his vision to make what was a forest a Medical Village. It was difficult for people who were not visionary to see what the Governor had in mind. In summary, I had the privilege of being here from the time the foundation of the medical village was laid. A sense of fulfillment summarizes how I feel now looking back to where we started from just 3 yrs. ago.

The Mother and Child Hospital is developing in both facilities and human resources, what were the challenges faced in bringing up the Mother and Child hospital to this level?

When you talk of challenges, we’ll be here till tomorrow. But if I am to think back, the challenges were predictable, starting an institution from scratch and putting in place infrastructure that would require personnel, materials as well as funding mechanism, you can imagine the kind of challenges that you would have. The first challenge was psychological challenge – from the beginning we were challenged with how to be cost effective in coming up with a structure that would be befitting and be run in a way that would be sustainable. The other challenge was massing different people because initial staff strength was about 300. It was challenging to bring people to work in together and unison. More so, because the mandate given by the executive governor was to offer an integrated maternal and child health care facilities, fully poised to offer qualitative and critical intervention when required. So everybody is aware that the hospital was built for pregnant women and children as priority and that any mistake could lead to loss of life.
We also had in mind that people were sort of disenfranchised with hospitals in this region because of bad experiences in public hospitals. Like you all recall, that before now we only have the State Specialist Hospital which was formerly a general hospital. Apart from the nomenclature changes, there was little or no infrastructural development. This drove away certain cadre of patients, so we decided to reduce and remove those factors that keep patients away from the hospital so as to make the facilities available and befitting for all cadres of patients. We also hear excuses like – i can’t afford hospital bills. As a result of this, the Governor in his wisdom made it completely free.
Some people said they don’t go to hospital because it takes a lot of time and too stressful to get the service. So we decided to make the Mother Child hospital a one-stop centre, so that you can go round all the service points within few minutes
Some people also gave the impression that Government hospitals were dirty looking and the smell of antiseptics were irritating. We were able to put in place a structure whose ambiance is accommodating. We provided colourful pictures for the children, etc. We made cleanliness a mantra and ensure that the hospital must be clean all the time. I leave you to judge. Like the Governor often says that he wants the hospital to be clean that when akara (bean cake) falls on the floor, he will be able to pick and eat without fear of being infected.
>>>>>>>>> Laugh!! Laugh!!! >>>>>>>>>>>
Finally and perhaps most importantly is the attitude of the staff. People told us that when they go to government hospital, what usually drives them away is simply the attitude of the staff. We were able to change that by not just bringing people within the system together but we organize training and retraining programmes to change such identified attitudes. We also changed the appearances of our workers by providing unique outfit (scrubs) that will make our nurses and doctors friendly. This goes a long way in making the patients more comfortable. “Staff were trained to see patients as there meal ticket”. Patients are seeing as clients which must be engaged until they are fully satisfied.
In terms of structural challenges – the major challenges is maintaining steady power supply. Although it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that, honestly I wish the government at the Federal level or whoever is in-charge will make it a priority, because when I look back and imagine the amount we expended just to keep the power on, run generators, maintain Inverters etc., I wish I didn’t have to spend that much money.
If light goes off for 10-15 minutes, it may result in the dead of a baby dependent on oxygen, it may be a case of life and dead for a mother that needs surgery immediately.
On funding, I thank God for the political will of the Governor. We have leverage on his political will, I must confess. We are always priority when it comes to disbursing funds for parastatals.
I wish whosoever is coming on board in Ondo state will have the same drive for Mother and Child Hospital just like Governor Mimiko. The last challenge is that people don’t know the facility exist in Ondo city, and that’s quite challenging and shocking because our people still seek health care services with charlatans.

How was the Governor of the state able to attract many consultants into Ondo city?

Using myself as an example, I schooled and trained in Lagos. When I finished my training, I was into a comfortable and lucrative private practice. But then I had the privilege of having a conversation with the governor of Ondo State. I saw in him a passion that has been missing in most politician in Nigeria and when he told me of his plan for Ondo state, because I am from Ondo state, i knew as at then, that Ondo state couldn’t boast of one state-owned hospital that will could be proud of. I felt the urge to assist my state and make positive impacts.
I am proud to say that as at 2009, we were only two consultant obstetricians in the whole state- Dr. Adeboye (ex-CMD of Mother and Child, Akure) and myself. I was also consultant number 4 or 5 in the whole state. Now we are talking of over 20 obstetricians and 80 consultants in Ondo state. So what attracts is because people want to join a winning team, and also comfort as experienced in Ondo. Of course we know doctors cannot be paid the money they deserve, but when you make their working environment conducive and give them the welfare they deserve, consultants we join your team.
I am proud to say that I was instrumental in attracting some of the doctors here because I was the pioneer consultant in the Medical Village. The Governor deliberately targeted the young and up-coming consultant who needed to prove themselves that they are capable of handling cases the older consultants in Ife and UCH would handle. Many of them gravitated towards here. For instance, when you tell a young consultant that it will take him 20 years to become a Professor in Ife, but with the same level of work he can become a Professor in less than 10 years here, you can be sure he will prefer to come here. Then, more often than none, many of the consultants come from Ondo state, so there is the passion to help your state. And we have been able to prove that there is nothing happening in OAUTH or UCH that cannot happen here
Now it’s on record that OAUTH and UCH refer patients to Medical Village for care.

What is the most challenging case experienced?

The most challenging was the case of a woman who came to us with rupture of the womb, she was rushed here as an emergency. I had to take out her womb to save her life because she was bleeding seriously. Lo and behold six months later she came with another pregnancy. I was surprised because I was the one that removed her womb and of course she couldn’t have been pregnant again for life. We did all the necessary scan and discovered she was pregnant and since there was no womb I started wondering maybe it was an abdominal pregnancy. After 9 months, when it was time for her delivery, we opened her up and discovered that she had two wombs from inception. This was totally rare and it was almost unexplainable.

Child and Maternal Mortality has reduced to an enviable minimal level in Ondo State, what do you think can be done to achieve more feat?

Reduction in child and maternal mortality is the most profound achievement of Mimiko’s administration. Before 2009, Ondo state had the worst indexes in the whole of the South-West according to USFID. We discovered that only 16% of registered pregnant woman come back to deliver in government hospitals and 3-5 women die every week. After we started our Abiye programme we were able to bring down maternal death from about 545/100,000 maternal-mortality ratio to 81/100,000 in just 3 years of starting the Abiye Programme.

Sir, as a son of the soil how do you manage familiarity issues among patients?

That’s an interesting question. I am the definition of what you call ‘Ondo abroad’, because I schooled in Lagos and spent most of my childhood there I only visit Ondo during festive period. I was able to manage familiarity issue by being open and sincere. I tell people where i stand and let my yes be yes and no be no. When you are known for discipline, same will be accorded to you. I do not give impression of whom and what i am not.

Away from your profession how do you unwind?

Unwinding is very important >>>>>>> Laugh>>> Laugh>>>>I love watching TV, listening to music above all I love dancing. I use to be a semi-professional break dancer. So when I needed to unwind I just go dancing and this helps also in socializing with the people in my society. Many people have stopped to ask “se CMD ko ni yen, to n jo shoki” >>>> Laugh >> Laugh. Finally I love traveling.

How do you feel having the first University of Medical Sciences within the Medical Village?

Having the first Medical University is a pride and I feel fulfilled being the first CMD and one of the pioneers of the medical village housing the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo.

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