Otunba Subomi Balogun Officially Donates National Paediatrics Centre to UI and UCH

The Founder of FCMB Group, Otunba (Dr.) Olasubomi Balogun, CON, has officially made a final donation of his Otunba Tunwase National Paediatrics Centre (OTNPC), located at Ijebu-Ode in Ogun State, to the University of Ibadan (UI), its College of Medicine and the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State. The official handover was pronounced in Lagos at a ceremony last weekend, where a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), aimed at facilitating a smooth daily running of the medical facility, was signed by the beneficiary institutions. 

The new MoU, which clearly spells-out that the clinical and medical services, and the daily operation of the medical facility, would be handled by the UCH, was signed after a meeting between all concerned parties including the philanthropist himself, Otunba Balogun, the Group Chief Executive of FCMB Group Plc, Mr Ladi Balogun, who is the Chairman of the Board of Otunba Tunwase National Paediatrics Centre,the Management of the University of Ibadan and its College of Medicine, led by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Idowu Olayinka as well as the Management of the University College Hospital, led by its Chief Medical Director, Professor Abiodun Otegbayo. 

Speaking on why he donated the centre in the first place, Otunba Balogun, who is also the Olori Omo-Oba Akile Ijebu said, “when I took over the equipment of the children’s hospital in the UCH Ibadan, I was exposed to the true plight of sick children. The late Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti had attended a function where I was honoured for my philanthropic activities. So, he said Otunba, ‘You have impressed me, you have done so well, one thing you could still do for this country is, give us a prototype of the great ORMOND Street Hospital in London, which is talked about everywhere in the world’. And I asked him, how much do you think this would cost? And he was like, ‘by the time you spend N50 million, it would be done’. And the good Lord provided me with the funds needed to execute it. I recall one year, I got my dividend and I decided I could devote N250 million to it. I, thereafter, made it an annual commitment to donate towards the construction of the hospital. I think it was the Almighty God that inspired me. It was only when I was handing them over, that I realised the total cost”. 

The FCMB Founder further stated that, “when I gave out the place as a gift, it was Professor Adenike Grange, a former Health Minister, and also former Provost of the place who said, the way this place is growing, you had better hand it over to an institution that will continue to effectively manage it beyond your life”. 

He said, although some other institutions had requested to manage it, the former minister suggested that he gives the facility which is today, worth N5billion in market value to UI, and that the university would bring UCH into managing it. Until recently, it was discovered there were some administrative frictions between the beneficiary institutions, which now necessitated, a formal signing of an MoU. 

Addressing journalists on the lingering management challenge prior to the new MoU, after the signing, the Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Idowu Olayinka said, "there was no crises but a mere administrative discrepancy arising from the previously signed MoU. As you are aware, Otunba Balogun donated the Otunba Tunwase National Paediatrics Centre at Ijebu Ode to the University of Ibadan, a few years ago, almost 10 years ago. We have had some structural problems as to how to provide clinical services and other medical services to the inhabitants.” 

In signing the MoU, three parties were involved- the University of Ibadan, its College of Medicine, and the University College Hospital (UCH). The focus would be to fashion out things clearly and strategically manage the institution and reduce disagreements. The College of Medicine is part of the University of Ibadan, and the other major unit for this MoU is the UCH. It is important to note that many of the University of Ibadan’s professors in the college of medicine are consultants to the UCH, even though UCH also has its own staff who are not necessarily UI staff. 

Prof Olayinka stressed that, "the resolution now is that the three parties have signed the MoU, effective October 1, 2020, so that all the parties would make their own contributions as agreed in the MoU, towards the smooth running of the centre at Ijebu Ode. So basically, while the University College Hospital (UCH) has now been mandated to provide clinical services, the University of Ibadan (UI) will engage in research and other academic works, while our students would also be involved as part of their training. And as I said, many of the UI staff are also honorary consultants to UCH, so it wouldn’t create any problem. Therefore going forward, almost everything has been sorted out. It is just remaining implementation. And we don’t foresee any challenge again.” 

Also speaking with journalists, the Provost of University of Ibadan's College of Medicine, Professor Olayinka Omigbodun, expressed joy over the resolution reached. She said, “for many years, we had difficulties running the centre. Note that the University is known for education, research and other academic works. These, they will focus on. They don’t run hospitals. But what we have done today is to provide an MoU, such that, even though the facility still belongs to the University, the UCH is going to move in and supply medical directors, doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists, and everything needed in it. The UCH is going to run the centre from now on. That is what the MoU is all about. So basically, the MoU says that UCH is going to run the place. So, from now and moving forward, we are expecting UCH to move in with their doctors and other health professionals. We sincerely thank Otunba Balogun for this great gesture".