41yr-old Hospital In Dire Need Of Rescue
Decadence, dilapidation of infrastructure, hostile working environment appear to ne the hallmark of the General Hospital in Igbanke, Orhionmwon local government area of Edo State, when The Guardian visited the 41 years old health institution.
Said to have been commissioned on December 4, 1974 by the then military government of Brigadier General Samuel Ogbemudia (rtd), the modest hospital currently under the charge of the Edo State Hospital Management Board is in a near state of collapse; no thanks to years of abandonment by successive governments.
More worrisome now is that attempt by the current administration in the state, through the Millennium Development Goal (MDG), to revamp the hospital has left it in a more dilapidated state than hitherto. Ceilings and some part of the roof have been removed and yet to be replaced, doors and windows not properly re-fixed and the contractor that abandoned the job has been seen over one year now.
The signpost at the entrance to the hospital indicated that the renovation of the hospital is collaboration between the state government and the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDG, which work started since 2012.
Understandably, no staff was ready to speak to The Guardian, but it was gathered that the facility is grossly understaffed having just one doctor, one pharmacist, two nurses and one matron. Both the accounts and administrative section are also grossly understaffed. The reporter had visited the hospital as a patient, which allowed him access to most parts of the facility. However, as at the time of the visit, the doctor was said to be on his way to Benin City, the state capital for official engagement.
The issue of power is also an issue because as at the time of the visit, public power supply to the hospital has been disconnected due to unpaid bills and the generating set said to be as old as the hospital barely functions especially due to paucity of funds. The community enjoys an average of 12 hours power supply daily, yet not the hospital. Some parts of the compound are also bushy, particularly those areas leading to the staff quarters in the premises.
The hospital services the six autonomous communities that make up Igbanke namely; Omolua, Ottah, Idumuodin, Ake, Oligia and Igbontor, and each of the six communities has an Enogie (Duke). There is also a health centre, which is said to be functioning very well.
A visit to the palace of the traditional ruler of Omolua, one of the communities benefitting from the communities, HRH, Dr Isaac Uwaifo, the Enojie of Omolua, explained that the hospital used to be a pride to the people, when it was commissioned by the administration of Ogbemudia because of the quality health care service it provided the people then.
He noted that expectedly, the facilities at hospital had degenerated over the years and appealed to the government to ensure that the contractors handling the renovation work returned to site and complete the job. “It is true we have one General hospital and a health centre, the general hospital was built by one of our illustrious son, Dr. Ogbemudia, since then the hospital have been functioning well and it served Igbanke as a whole. Of recent, no one really attends the hospital because it has aged, with obsolete and broken down facilities. It was because of this that the Edo State government under the leadership of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole awarded the contract for renovation of the hospital.
“We don’t know the contractors and we have been making effort to reach them. You can see the ceiling and there is nothing in the doctor’s office; we the traditional heads are appealing to the people to manage what they have notwithstanding the state. The main constraint, from what the doctor told us, is that they are lacking staffs, there are only two nurses and they alternate. They are supposed to have about five or six nurses. We are hoping that something will be done in no distant time. Our appeal to the ministry is to call on the contractors to come and complete the work.”
On his part, the secretary, Omolua Community, Monday Bowe, said the community had, at various times, contributed through some spirited members to offset the electricity bills accumulated in the past. He noted that because of deplorable state of the hospital, emergency cases are often referred to Igbanke or Ewohimi for medical attention.
He said the problem of the hospital was compounded, when the contractors abandoned the renovation midway and called on the state governor to fulfill his promise to intervene, when he last visited the community for political campaign.
When The Guardian visited the MDG office situated along Osadebey Avenue in the compound that also houses the state Pension Board Office, a staff said the office does not have any dealings with the media and therefore, could not see the Managing Director.
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