President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday unveiled the newly reconstructed Institute of Maternal And Child Health popularly known as Ayinke House located within the premises of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) in Ikeja, describing it as a critical and timely intervention by the State Government in the health sector.
Ayinke House, which is Nigeria's biggest Maternity Hospital, was upgraded from an 80-bed facility to a 170-bed healthcare centre with state-of-the-art medical equipment, as well as information technology services.
Aside the entourage of the President which included Ministers and Special Advisers, Governors of Ogun (Ibikunle Amosu ), Oyo (Abiola Ajimobi), Ondo (Oluwarotimi Akeredolu), Ekiti (Kayode Fayemi), Jubrila Bindow, Adamawa, Acting Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu; Lagos State Governor-Elect, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat; Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, among others were in attendance.
The President, who landed at the Presidential Wing of Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja at about 10: 45am, arrived at Ayinke House about 15 minutes later, after which he unveiled the project, and also embarked on comprehensive tour of the facility.
Speaking at the event, the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode described the development as historic, expressing optimism that the facility would provide world class childbirth and maternal care services to Lagosians and Nigerians at large.
Recalling how the journey began, Governor Ambode said the facility was commissioned exactly 29 years ago, with the late businessman and philanthropist, Sir Mobolaji Bank-Anthony donating the first dedicated maternal and child care facility to the State Government, in memory of his mother; hence the christened name "Ayinke House".
He said the hospital, which started with just one surgical theatre soon assumed a life of its own as a first-class childbirth and maternal care centre in the health sector of Nigeria as well as first choice for expectant mothers.
However, the Governor said the hospital later became over-stretched beyond capacity and somehow obsolete, while in recognition of the need to sustain Bank-Anthony's philanthropy, the State Government, during the administration of former Governor Babatunde Fashola who is now the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, awarded the contract for the expansion and reconstruction of the facility.
"Today, seven years after the closure of the facility, the new edifice is now a 170-bed facility with 5 surgical theatres. It has a 16-bed emergency care units with 3 organ support facilities, 30 bed special baby care unit, 5 neo-natal intensive care units, a fully equipped laboratory with support services, laboratories and a blood bank.
"Beyond the significance for the health sector, this institute is a major contribution to our education sector also; as it becomes a veritable platform for our medical students in the State University to enhance their exposure and experience with the top-class medical equipment provided," Governor Ambode said, just as he revealed that Ayinke House had also been completely digitalised with state-of-the-art medical equipment as well as information technology services supported by the State Ministry of Science and Technology.
He said in view of President Buhari's determination of making universal and basic primary healthcare as one of the cardinal priorities of his administration, the State Government, under him, had consciously worked to bring quality, affordable and modern healthcare to all our citizenry, among other initiatives in the health sector.
"Just last year, we launched the Lagos State Health Insurance scheme to allow residents access top quality medical care with a little contribution and support from the State government.
"These and other efforts are directed at improving the lives of our people, especially the women and children; and by extension the productivity of our nation," he said.
While congratulating President Buhari on his resounding victory at the recent presidential election, Governor Ambode thanked him for finding time to personally commission Ayinke House and other projects in the State, adding that the completion of the projects would not have been possible without the President's support, administrative direction and encouragement.
Besides, Governor Ambode commended the Management and Staff of the State's Ministry of Health, Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, LASUTH as well as contractors for working round the clock and their enthusiasm in getting the project completed.
Similarly, the President also commissioned the 500-seater Lagos Theatre in Oregun, Ikeja. The ultra modern theatre is one of the four simultaneously constructed by the Ambode administration to increase arts spaces and create standard platforms for talented citizens of the State to showcase their skills.
The President who arrived the venue at exactly 11:30am was treated to a live dance performance by a young group of talented artist before taking his leave.
The Governor said the three other theatres with the same specifications are also ready for commissioning in Igando, Badagry and Epe.