Govt orders closure of Owerri medical centre
Worried by the knotty issues plaguing the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Owerri, in Imo State, the Federal Ministry of Health has ordered the temporary closure of the facility. The action, according to government, is to restructure it, build capacity and find lasting solution to the crisis.
Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja, on Wednesday, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said although the temporary closure was painful, the Ministry was left with no better choice than what it has done. According to him, the move would allow government “re-organise, re-strategise and redefine the rules of engagement.”
He noted that, in the meantime and with immediate effect, an interim administration would be put in place to oversee the affairs of the institution and carry out staff audit to ensure proper restoration of services.
“The Federal Medical Centre, Owerri must work to deliver healthcare services to the Nigerian people because that is the mandate with which the Federal Government is maintaining the over 2,500 people employed in this centre with the available meager resources including tax payers’ money.”
According to the Minister, the contentious issues border on the proposal forwarded to the top management committee by the Medical Director, Dr. Angela Uwakwem, to introduce the Public Private Partnership (PPP) in some revenue-generating units of the hospital, in order to establish accountability and increase the revenue base of the hospital.
He further stated that all allegations against the Medical Director by the union have been cleared following the conclusive investigations carried out by the fact-finding committee.
Adewole revealed that as at the time he visited the centre with the view of restoring services in the hospital, the level of impunity shown by the union was disheartening.
“Employees of government, who have been getting their salaries regularly, were all clad in black and chanting solidarity songs. Being fully aware of the fact that FMC, Owerri is the only functional hospital in the state at the moment, they still went ahead to disrupt services.”