University Of Uyo Teaching Hospital: A death zone? | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Agenda, Opinion

University Of Uyo Teaching Hospital: A death zone?

Posted: Apr 29, 2015 at 12:03 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Stevens Edidiong, a public affairs commentator based in Uyo, in this piece, describes the deplorable condition of University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, urging the Nigerian government to immediately intervene…

The University is meant to be a place where minds are built and philosophies are learnt and applied to better the mind of the individual, who in return transforms the community into a better place for himself and then the society at large is the better for it. The hospital on the other hand is a place where lives are saved and also made so that the society could have continuity. But in a situation where you have a University and Hospital combined as a community, the best of philosophy and health offers are expected to be available and individuals in such an environment are expected to have thier minds broadened to be able to stand against mediocrity. But In a place where you have a university teaching hospital that cannot offer the best of academic and health services, then that teaching hospital is not better than a scrap.

Since Monday the 20th of April, 2015 there has been no electricity supply at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH), Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.The avoidable blackout has completely hindered all medical services which are electricity dependent. With this unfortunate state of affairs, the lives and safety of patients seeking serious and urgent medical attention have been put in jeopardy.

While this rot goes on unabated, the Management of the hospital which is unperturbed from all indications is claiming that they are spending too much money on the provision of fuel to service the generators that provide electricity to the hospital, since public supply of electricity is nothing to write home about.

A relative of mine that needed to undergo urgent scanning at the hospital has been ‘booked’ for 5th May, 2015 when her turn is expected to come. She has been told that there is nothing that can be done about her case because the radiology department of the hospital can only perform 18 scans per day.

Apart from the perennial problem of electricity at the hospital, the entire atmosphere there is anarchic, inhumane and degrading. From extremely poor patient service, personnel inadequacy, overcrowding, unavailability of drugs (in fact most patients depend largely on private pharmaceutical outlets for drugs), antiquated facilities, offensive odours, to infrastructural decay, the facility passes for a death zone.

Having been to the hospital on a number of occasions, I can say without mincing words that there is an urgent need for the government to intervene. This is one teaching hospital where patients are treated with utter disdain by uncaring nurses and other non medical staff who appear to be incurably offended at the sight of patients.

A situation where emergency cases at the hospital are treated like other cases is completely unacceptable. Many have narrated how personnel (including doctors and nurses) in the hospital allegedly watched carelessly as their relatives suffered and died without assistance or care.

The situation is so precarious that instead of undergoing the allegedly demoralising and excruciating procedures at the hospital, many people have resorted to self – medication. The last time I visited the hospital for medical care, I had to wait for more than 3 hours before being attended to by a doctor. Thereafter, I was unduly delayed at the laboratory department before being cleared for clinical tests.

The hospital is not immuned from the cancer of corruption which has ravaged most public institutions and sectors in our country. It is alleged that to be attended to timeously, one must be ready to give kickbacks or be assisted by a known third party (personnel) at the hospital. I witnessed this the last time I went there.

The University of Uyo Teaching Hospital is the only tertiary health facility in Akwa Ibom State. Despite being a federal government owned facility, over 80% of Nigerians that depend on the facility for medical care are residents of Akwa Ibom State. Therefore, the Akwa Ibom State Government should be interested in the present uninspiring and scandalous state of hospital.

The Minister of Health should as a matter of urgency hold an independent investigation into the state of facilities at the hospital. Nigerians deserve to know whether the yearly budgetary provisions for the management and maintenance of the hospital have been put to justifiable use or whether the monies appropriated for the hospital, including internally generated revenue, have been misappropriated or embezzled. There is an urgent need for questioning and accountability.

The Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy under our Constitution enjoin the Nigerian government to provide adequate medical care for all Nigerians. Specifically, Section 17 (3) (d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) provides that the State shall direct its policy towards ensuring that- “there are adequate medical and health facilities for all persons”.

A nation that does not pay serious attention to the health, safety and security of her citizens cannot prosper. Our mortality rate and life span will not improve when vital health facilities like the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital are in critical and debasing state. We cannot continue like this as a country.

The time to act is now!