N495m debt: UCH’s power cut disrupts services by doctors, other personnel as they shun night duties 

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The cutting off from the public power supply of the University College Hospital in Ibadan, Oyo State, over N495 million it owed the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) is taking its toll on the operations of the health facility.

Already, the hospital’s doctors, nurses, and other employees have refused to work beyond 4:00 p.m. until power is restored, citing the current heatwave.

Contrary to what she first claimed, UCH’s spokesman, Mrs. Funmilayo Adetuyibi, has admitted that the hospital’s energy debt exceeded N400 million.

Persecondnews recalls that on March 19, IBEDC disconnected the facility for the third time in less than two months.

The Ibadan DisCo provided justification for the disconnect, stating that it did so following attempts to communicate with the hospital’s management about the N495 million debt, which it said had remained unpaid for more than six years.

However, the UCH spokesperson last week refuted the claim that it owed N495 million, stating that Prof. Jesse Otegbayo’s administration took over the N27 million debt as of February 27, 2019, having taken office on March 1, 2019.

Since then, she continued, it has made sure that the invoices brought by IBEDC are paid each month.

However, Adetuyibi acknowledged that she had made a mistake in her original retort when she was approached on Tuesday after learning that Busolami Tunwase, the IBEDC spokeswoman, had argued that the amount was N495 million.

Adetuyibi said the hospital was requesting money and assistance in order to pay off the debt.

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“The truth of the matter is that we are owing IBEDC and we need help. Help is the main thing. We are soliciting for funds; help is what we need.
“The amount is N495m; leave it at N495m. There was an error while we were sending the rejoinder, which I rectified and sent the corrected version. So, let’s leave all these and let’s look for help.
“That’s what we actually need. It’s the help that we need,” she said on telephone.
Meanwhile, workers in the hospital had embarked on what they called down-scaling, working from 8.00am to 4.00pm every day until power is restored.
The worker also threatened to go on a seven-day strike if the hospital was not reconnected before Tuesday, April 9.
According to the Joint Action Committee Chairman, Oludayo Olabampe, this would affect patients on admission and as no one would be available to attend to them in the evening.
Olabampe noted that those on admission would need to be discharged, and there would be no new admissions for now.
“From today (Tuesday), we will be ending our services by 4.00pm. Our services will be only between 8.00am and 4.00pm; no call duties, no shift duties, and no 24-hour services until when power is restored. From downscaling, we will go on a seven-day warning strike after a 14-day ultimatum that started counting on March 27.
 “This will affect patients on admission because the nurses that attend to patients in the ward will close by 4.00pm. Imagine leaving the patients to be on their own from 4.00pm till 8.00 am.
“So, there won’t be further admission and those on admission now will have to be discharged. Also know that from 4 pm upward, if there are patients in the theatre for surgery and there is the need for blood, if you get to the blood bank, nobody will attend to you after 4 pm.
 “If you need one test or the other, you won’t meet anybody in the laboratory. Radiographers will not be available, and even the dietitians who will be in charge of their meals will not be there for dinner.
“By now, I expect that whoever is having children in the incubator should try to transfer them to where there is a better power supply,” he said.
Olabampe also solicited assistance for the hospital to settle the N495 million bill, saying “UCH does not have the money to pay the debt”.

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