Crisis rocks Edo sickle cell centre over use of opioids, others
Edo State Sickle Cell Board Chairman, Prof. Caroline Edijana Omoti, has called on Governor Godwin Obaseki to urgently wade into the crisis brewing at the centre following allegations of misconducts by some members of the board ranging from financial inducement and the alleged indiscriminate administration of opioids to patients to their detriment at the facility.
Mrs. Omoti while calling on the governor to check the excesses and actions of some members of the board, alleged that some members in the board in December, 2016 organised a protest at the Sickle Cell Centre against the removal of Dr. Peter O. Iyawe from the service of the facility.
“During this protest, they made additional baseless claims that suggest that the board was not running the centre properly. A previous board engaged Dr. Iyawe as a casual staff. He is not a full staff of Edo State Government,” she stated.
Omoti alleged that following her investigation, that some board members were acting unethical and providing sickle cell patients opioids drugs that are considered dangerous to the health of patients, warned all those involved in the nefarious acts to desist just as she sanctioned members directly involved in the administration of the dangerous drugs to sickle cell patients. She alleged that her decision to stop the use of opioids for patients did not go down well with those members allegedly sanctioned by her, hence, the call for her removal. She wondered why some members of the Sickle cell association are in the habit of blackmailing the authorities and had held several public protests against the former Commissioner of Health and the Edo State Government.
According to her, “even then, they were accused of being politically motivated by the opposition political party. They have always had a penchant for dictating how the centre should be run even against State
Government policies. They had made several attempts to protest against the State government during the electoral process, but I had to step in several times to pacify them. The contract with Dr. Peter Iyawe was terminated following repeated verbal warnings and eventually a query, which he blatantly refused to answer. Dr. Iyawe has demonstrated the highest level of indiscipline. He is hardly ever punctual to work.”
Omoti alleged that Iyawe engages in malpractice and engages in private practice within the centre, as information obtained from his colleagues shows that he sells drugs privately to patients and indiscriminately gives opioid injections (which are addictive) to the patients and hence obtains “special favour” from some selected few members.
“On an occasion, he was caught giving blood transfusion to a patient in his personal office and this was witnessed by the permanent secretary himself on one occasion and by myself on another occasion.
Reacting to the allegations, members of the sickle cell club in a petition against Omoti, signed by its president, Gregory Asekome Aigbonoga, alleged that the board chairman lacks emparhy, respect and dignity towards sickle cell sufferers and their relatives in the centre. They also alleged that, under her watch, drugs that were supposed to administered to patients by donor agencies are either sold at exhorbitant prices to sickle cell sufferers or let to expire completely.
Aigbonoga noted that the immediate source of the crisis brewing at the centre was the purported sack of Iyawe, a medical practitioner and one of the old hands in the centre. He urged the governor to regularize the employment of Dr. Iyawe and other staff of the centre such that their employment will be regulated by extant Civil\Public Service Rules.
“We make bold to say that the purported sack of Dr. Iyawe is fraught with legal lapses and procedural irregularities that cry for redress,” Aigbonoga added.