The UNTH experience
SIR: I would like to use this medium to relate my recent experience at University Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku Ozalla and to speak for so many others, who have had similar experience but have been unable to make it public.
I had to take my sister’s child to UNTH recently, and it was indeed a shocking experience! I have been blessed with good health, and it’s been a while since I had been to a hospital… I was certainly not prepared for what I saw… a system on the brink of collapse.
I could hardly get through the bureaucratic ‘Red Tape’ to be able to get a folder (this took forever). Of course, the attending staff at the medical records were late to work, unapologetic, and really couldn’t care less about us. We then waited in a hall – with a lot of dirt and garbage around us. Yes, garbage. I thought to myself: ‘A dirty hospital?’ Quite a paradox! But there it is, a very dirty place indeed.
While waiting, I felt the need to use the rest room and looked around purposefully for one, until I was told by the staff to ‘Use the bush outside, as there’s no water in the hospital.’ The bush outside? No water? Good heavens! Where am I? And outside…piles of refuse. Dirty corridors and rubbish littered all around. I later heard that the staff responsible for refuse disposal are being owed many months’ salaries. So I thought: ‘This can’t be the same hospital I’ve been seeing on television, where the heart surgeries are performed. No… there’s a mix up somewhere!
Eventually, it got to my turn to see the doctor: a pleasant chap who attended to us nicely. But… we were cramped into this small consulting room with four doctors, four patients and four care-givers – 12 people in a room so small. I thought longingly of my office, with a firm resolve never to complain again about its size and comfort. And then another thought: ‘These doctors must be saints!’ I certainly CANNOT do any meaningful work under such working conditions.
My question: Why is UNTH peculiar? UCH Ibadan, I hear, is a pleasant hospital – clean, with running water, electricity and good attitude to work. I’ve also heard similar stories about OAU, Ile-Ife; UBTH Benin; not to talk about the North. Many hospitals have improved the lot of their doctors but in UNTH it seems they are being demoted from their promotions.
I’m not a politician, but I think that the common good is at stake here…Most rich people would fly out of the country for a simple procedure, but the average man has the teaching hospital as the pinnacle of health care they have access to.
A passionate appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene! This is a crisis situation and it is the common man who suffers the consequences.