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Power Outage Sparks Debate as UCH Raises Concerns About Mounting Debt

Power Outage Sparks Debate as UCH Raises Concerns About Mounting Debt

The University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan has elicited mixed reactions from Nigerians due to its current plight, facing significant financial challenges. The hospital has come forward seeking assistance and attributing its high debt burden to unpaid electricity bills totaling N328 million from successive administrations.

Established on November 20, 1957, UCH holds the distinction of being Nigeria’s first teaching hospital. However, the institution currently finds itself in complete darkness after being disconnected from the national grid by the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) on March 19, 2024.

DAILY POST reports that concerned individuals have expressed worry regarding the situation, with some questioning how the hospital utilizes the funds generated on a daily basis. Prolonged power outages at UCH are not a new occurrence, according to a woman from Ibadan who recounted her experience of having to transfer her baby to a private hospital due to a power outage during treatment.

Another Ibadan resident, Mr. Ajibola, raised concerns about the hospital’s substantial debt and attributed the situation to corruption. He questioned the allocation of funds generated through high medical bills, suggesting that corruption plays a role in the financial challenges faced by UCH.

A health professional, Mr. Akindele, called for an investigation into the reasons behind UCH’s significant debt to IBEDC, emphasizing the need for transparency in the hospital’s financial management. Similarly, Mr. Rasak Fabayo, Chairman of the Apete-Awotan Landlords/Landladies Association, expressed his disappointment and attributed the hospital’s predicament to corruption within the system.

In response to the situation, UCH’s Public Relations Officer, Funmi Adetuyibi, acknowledged that the hospital’s existing internally generated revenue (IGR) was insufficient to settle its financial obligations. Adetuyibi revealed that the current Chief Medical Director, Professor Jesse Otegbayo, inherited an electricity debt of N328 million upon assuming office in 2019. The hospital relies on its IGR, which amounts to N14 million per month, to cover overhead costs, including electricity, water, renovation, and consumables. However, the entire N14 million is used to settle the debt owed to IBEDC, leaving the hospital with limited resources for other expenses.

Adetuyibi appealed for assistance and stressed the importance of external support to alleviate UCH’s financial burden. Despite the hospital’s efforts to pay its debts, the combination of the outstanding electricity bill and the ongoing strike action has placed UCH in a challenging situation.

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