1. A Gift Worth Giving

Essence

Noun /ˈɛs(ə)ns/

The intrinsic nature or indispensable quality of something, especially something abstract, which determines its character.

See also: Quintessence, nature, lifeblood

Some people believe that a person’s essence is in their blood. As a result, people who hold this belief do not donate or receive blood regardless of how dire the need may be. As far as I’m concerned, if this belief holds any sway, then the most priceless gift you can ever give is the gift of voluntary blood donation.

The history of blood transfusions dates as far back as the 17th century. Physicians at that time knew that blood was a vital element in the body, and losing too much of it could lead to tragic consequences. It was then that experimentations and research into blood donation and transfusions began. This research birthed a new league of heroes — Voluntary Blood Donors. Blood Donors save lives every day by giving a part of themselves so that others can live.

June 14th was World Blood Donor Day and as expected, there were some activities to commemorate the day. I was a keynote speaker at the event organised by the Ekiti NMA. Following the commemoration ceremony was a blood drive and I decided to donate blood. Beyond the fulfilment of giving part of myself to save lives, I was most happy when some of my colleagues decided to donate as well. At that moment, I thought to myself “I should do this more often” I believe you should too!

2. Change Takes Consistency Not Speed

Shortly after I resumed office as Commissioner for Health, I discussed with the management team, the need for continuous professional, managerial and academic training for both clinical and non-clinical staff in all tiers of our health system. This measure was necessitated by a noticeable dip in the competence and contemporary knowledge of some of our healthcare personnel.

Also, as part of my agenda, I established a performance management system (PMS) to drive problem solving and critical thinking among the leadership and other staff of the State Ministry of Health. I found this necessary to align all staff, resources, and systems to efficiently meet the objectives of the Ministry.

Before establishing the PMS, I noticed that a lot of staff had a narrow view to resolving issues. Hence the need for competency improvement and change management endeavours. Sometime last year, we planned training for different cadres of health workers in the state. The training was postponed because of COVID-19, and we decided to pick it up again this year. Two days before the start date, senior management reached out requesting the training be postponed, citing the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaign as a hindrance.

This concern wasn’t new and I had addressed it much earlier, so i was irritated it was coming up again. I refused their proposition reminding them that about 3000 personnel were trained for the vaccination campaign and only 54 have been deployed so far. Of all arguments raised, I just couldn’t see why both programs could not hold at simultaneously. If I were to accede, I would be doing the State a disservice, plus it was a teachable moment for the team to learn to elevate their problem solving mindset. We eventually agreed that both the training and the vaccine campaign would continue.

3. The Countdown Has Begun!

With the announcement of the date for the Ekiti State gubernatorial elections by INEC, our administration officially has less than a year (roughly 351 days) to deliver impact before ceding to the next government. Oftentimes, towards the end of an administration, activities tend to be on hibernation. However, while we are mindful of the elections slated for June 18th 2022, we continue to commission and carry out projects as normal because we believe that the beauty of good governance is continuity and most importantly, the people of Ekiti State deserve the best of us till the very end. I am particularly appreciative of the leadership of His Excellency Dr John Kayode Fayemi who is relentless in his resolve to leave behind systems that will continue to deliver impact for the people of Ekiti State even beyond his tenure. As we count down to June 2022, we can only hope that our work speaks for us and the next administration will continue the good work that we have begun. #EkitiKete

Health Systems Reforms and Health Financing Expert