A Review Of The Stewardship Of The Health Commissioner: How Well?

By – Emmanuel Utibe


During the last electioneering cycle in Katanga republic, a little-known personality emerged, vying for the position of the Health commissioner. Mr. Salako Olajire, a then 200-level student of Medicine and Surgery, Dr. Park as he is popularly called eventually won the elections, riding on the back of an energetic early morning cry campaigns, and a manifesto night display. His entry was also marked by a mission statement to ‘revitalize the health sector of the great republic’, wheeled on a truckload of plans, and a spark of energy which had not been commonly seen in the office of the health commissioner in recent time. Given that we are barely weeks to the end of the current administration in the hall, it is at the moment the hour time to critically consider if Dr. Park has truly lived up to expectations, by fulfilling the promises which in exchange handed him the mandate of service.

Firstly, the Constitution charges the health commissioner with several duties, some of which include: seeing to general hall cleanliness from time to time, assisting in the general health of hall members, organizing health seminars, overseeing the hall cleaners, cleaning and maintenance of the water tanks, being in charge of the first aid box together, and leading or appointing someone to lead the health team, who would be available for Indy team(s) during every competition. Additionally, the constitution in talking about the health committee, states that the health committee is tasked with the onus of liaising with floor representatives, on each floor in every block, to see to general cleaning exercise [in the hall] at a given period i.e. environmental sanitation. (See Article X, Section VI c Indy Hall constitution 2006).

Dr. Pak Vs Constitutional Responsibilities

In the first part which talks about the duties of the health commissioner, there are sound testimonies to the fact that the health commissioner has largely been proactive and faithful. From more regular tank washing exercises to some monthly picking of wastes around the open spaces in the hall to the cleaning of the abandoned fountain at the quadrangle, indeed, a deserving kudos may be given where necessary.

The second part cited, which gave an instruction about liaising with the floor reps on each floor in every block to see to a general cleaning exercise at a given period, currently leaves some comments to be made. While on the surface, it thus would seem like there has been nothing done in that regard, further finding revealed that this specific promise was checked into by Dr Park, on no less than three occasions.

Speaking to Dr. Park, the Health Commissioner noted that he indeed has led several general hall sanitations, in one of which they carried out the cleaning of the dysfunctional fountain which can be found close to the newly refurbished relaxation seat-out. He however bemoaned the fact that the turnout of Katangites, to include floor representatives have not always been at its best. It is therefore commendable that commensurable credit go to the current health committee for being able to do the little or as much as they were able. It is simply a step in the right direction, given that this was a constitutional point that has been neglected for a while now.

But Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Having examined the office of the health commissioner through the lens of the constitution, it is important to dissect Dr Park’s manifesto, looking critically at the impact and validity of his promises.

His first plan, to carry out first aid training for members of the health committee and interested Katangites, was to be done in collaboration with the UI Red Cross society and to ensure that those who attend the training are empowered with critical life-saving skills. Resulting from an inquiry to evaluate this strand of promise, it can be attested that this very debt of promise has been paid. Speaking to him as regards the effectiveness of the training, the Commissioner explained that he has not had the need to come down to assist any of his health committee member as they have become more enabled to handle situations on their own.

Up next, Dr. Park had that in regards to hall sanitation, he would set up a special volunteers’ squad, which would have at least one member from each floor who would be involved in monitoring the cleaning of the toilets and bathroom and also the JCR. Additionally, he talked about establishing a regular cleaning and disinfection schedule for the bathrooms and toilets in the hall and setting aside a day in the month for cleaning exercises in the hall.

Indeed, there were monthly cleaning exercise organized by the members of the health committee, one of which saw to the cleaning of the dirty fountain at the quadrangle, even though the fountain has since gone back to being in its usual state – a displeasing eyesore. While there has been a special volunteer group established as promised to assist the health committee in its activities, the regular disinfection schedule proposed by Mr. Salako from findings has not been upheld. Besides the normal cleaning that cleaners are tasked to do, no, as in “special” cleaning or disinfection has been done to the bathrooms and toilets across floors.

Speaking to Dr Park on this point, he pointed out that it was not only the cleaning of the fountain that was done and that the committee held more than two sanitation exercises for general cleaning of the hall. Also as regards the toilet, he said that he could not go around all the floors, while noting that most of the issues he received complaints about plumbing issues, for which he reached out to the supervisors for. He also reiterated that he might not necessarily be seen walking about but then he is doing his job as he has people on each floor to which if there was any complaint, it would get to him. So far, the Health Commissioner argues that the complaints have reduced since the renovation had begun.

Thirdly, Dr Park talked about the fumigation of reading rooms in Indy to curtail the spread of insects, such as bed bugs. Dr. Park stressed that the health committee did put out a call to Katangites, requesting anyone who doesn’t know how to go about fumigating their rooms, could reach out to the health committee. Also, next in turn would be the issue of a health initiative, aimed at collaborating with such organization like Asido, among others. It is true to the promise that the health commissioner and his committee organized two health outreaches for students in the republic. While one of such was on Hepatitis B virus, the other was on HIV. Also, a mental health talk was held in conjunction during the last fresh students’ orientation event. Lastly, there was also notably collaboration with the Association for Reproductive and Family Health to supply the hall with free condoms. This was distributed to the members of the hall, who may be in need of it.


Then on to the issue of regular inspection of the cafeteria and shops, he spoke about ensuring that the premises of the cafeterias are regularly inspected. Speaking about this, the Health Commissioner stated strongly that under his tenure, no café could be said to have sold overdue food items. This he said was because he does his inspections regularly, with the most recent held a week with his committee members so he can say no leftover food is resold in the café. He stated that the only complaints that can come from the cafes may be the issue of personal food tastes but then that of the cafes selling leftovers or the shops selling expired products are non-tenable. According to him, the only complaint was initially the issue of houseflies being much around the cafeteria which the health committee later traced to being because of the refuse dump at the Idia village gate which waste management had previously not come to pack. But then according to him, since reaching out to them to ensure regular emptying of that dump, the issue of housefly infestation has reduced. Personal finding as regards all that was said by Mr. Health Commissioner was found to be true as it was confirmed that he indeed regularly went to the cafeterias to inspect the conditions there.


Lastly as regards the issue of improved accessibility and also the bi-weekly release of health tips, Dr. Park promised to ensure there is a bi-weekly release of graphics that would ensure members of the hall are kept abreast as regards health-related issues. This was to be done in collaboration with the PRO. Also, he talked about ensuring spread in the health committee and special volunteers group to ensure all blocks and floors are represented on these groups and also make sure there is increased access to them by members of the republic. Now while we can indeed confirm that this particular health committee has indeed been more readily accessible but then as regards the health tips, it has been a different story. Initially they started off the sharing of the tips on a good footing but then as the tenure proceeded we did not see our health tips again as they no longer came regularly.

Dr Park speaking on these points reiterated that so far as regards the health sector, this has been one of the best years for Indy as everyday Katangites can testify to, he said that indeed the health committee has been readily available to attend to the health needs of Katangites. Speaking about the bi-weekly release of the health tips, he conceded that indeed there was a fall-off after the initial efforts in that regard. His excuse for that was the busy activity of the health committee during the tenure especially after the start when they needed to organize their various health outreach and mental health talk. He said it was not easy keeping up with it given what was on the plate of the health committee but then he said that they never shied away from sharing health tips when they could.


In conclusion, having looked so far at the works of the Health commissioner throughout his tenure, we can say that he has not just been one to be seen to be doing so much while being about nothing but he has indeed to most of the best of human standards faithfully carried out the mandate of his office as his works speak to. All that is left is that we commend Mr. Salako Olajire for his commitment so far to fulfilling his words which he said he would do as this is not something that is commonly seen in politics even though it’s one of those basic things that is required. We say Kudos to him and admonish him to keep up the good work no matter where he finds himself in the future. We also encourage him to look to those points that have been raised in this article as to those things that could still be bettered and ensure they are done within the remaining weeks of the tenure.




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