CMD, Patients Decry Poor Facilities In Uniport Teaching Hospital

Worn-out front view of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital   					    PHOTO: ANN GODWIN

Worn-out front view of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital PHOTO: ANN GODWIN

The death of a 200-level student of Department of Theatre Arts, University of Port Harcourt, Miss Kelechi Promise due to alleged lack of bed space in University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital was condemned by many.

Investigations into the hospital’s facilities showed that it is indeed in a sorry state.

It is far from what one can describe as a standard hospital, though in Rivers state, it is perceived as one of the highest health institutions as major cases are referred to it.
The situation is so bad that the management cannot maintain regular light and water supply. Sometimes, relatives of admitted patients need to come with their own water and lantern to avoid being taken unaware.

The much-debated issue of inadequate bed space in the hospital is true. Findings revealed that sometimes, the nurses and doctors have to appeal to patients to stand up from the bed and sit down to allow people with more critical cases to use the bed. This is most common in the Accident and Emergency ward of the hospital.

The situation is so amazing considering the fact that the hospital generates huge funds daily from patients. Everything is paid for, every ward, department have banks attached to it where deposit of funds are made.

Also, people troop into the hospital steadily hence; eliciting the questions; where does the funds go to, can’t some percentage of it be use for the upgrade of the hospital? Is this one of the reasons why many Nigerians travel abroad daily in search of health care service?

Again, some parts of the structures have dilapidated, while some are so obsolete and dirty that one can’t look at it for a second time.

The toilet facilities have damaged and there is no replacement, the patients now resort to using bowl to take water from the drum or bucket.

The situation is so devastating that most of the wards, the windows and mosquito nets have fallen off thereby leaving the patients at the mercy of mosquitoes.
A visit to the various wards showed that some of the facilities have become obsolete and requires immediate upgrade to avoid further loss of lives.

Speaking on the situation, Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Prof. Aaron Ojule, described it as very pathetic, adding that, hospitals in Nigeria are far from what it should be.

Ojule said, “ The downturn in the economy is affecting all the sectors, hospitals in Nigeria are far from what it should be, if we want first class hospitals, a lot of money need to be put into the health care delivery system”

“Things are so bad that we cannot maintain regular light and water supply. We can’t even paint our hospital and wards, there are a lot of challenges in the system, but the thing is that we don’t have enough funds to run the hospitals we need. That is why many Nigerians are trooping abroad everyday to get health care.

“So, there is urgent need for upgrading of the entire health care system in Nigeria” Ojule expressed optimism that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari would address the anomalies in the system.

He said: “The new administration is God sent and the President meant well for this country, so we are expecting a lot of improvement bearing in mind the character and person of the new president. With his anti-corruption posture, a lot of things would be turn around in this country because corruption is responsible for all these challenges”

The UPTH boss also called for full implementation of the new health care bill, arguing that when the bill is fully operational, it would tackle all the health care challenges and ensure better services.

Speaking on the death of the Uniport student who died at the hospital due to lack of bed space and negligence by the nurses, the Chief medical Director said, the circumstances surrounding the ugly incident is being investigated.

“A proper panel is being set up to investigate the circumstance and where any staff is found culpable as alleged, adequate disciplinary measures would be applied according to extant civil service rules and professional code of conduct.”

Asked to confirm if actually there was no bed space, Ojule said, “ the truth is that on that day, the accident and emergency department was over subscribed to the extent that the doctors and nurses had to plead with some patients to stand up from the bed and sit down to allow those with critically cases to use the bed”

“It was a very critical night for the department, but under such circumstance we don’t reject patients, we try our best to attend to the patients, stabilise them before refering them” he added.

Some patients in an interview described the situation in the hospital as disheartening. One of them in the Accident and Emergency ward said that they pay huge amount for the services they receive wondering what the monies are being used for.

Also, a pregnant woman at the hospital told The Guardian, that the deplorable level of things in the hospital is quite discouraging and called on the new administration to urgently upgrade it.

Some residents say the hospital has lost its glory, reminiscing that in the past it was a reliable health institution.

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