Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Mbaukwu general hospital in Awka-South local government area of Anambra state is one of the hospitals purportedly being upgraded by the Anambra State Government with modern medical equipment and state-of-the-art facilities to enhance health care services especially in the rural areas. But the current state of the hospital does not confer the status of a general hospital on it.
The sorry state of the hospital has culminated in the outright abandonment of it by villagers who are supposed to access their medical and health needs there. Our correspondent however embarked on a fact-finding mission to Mbaukwu general hospital to ascertain the remote reason the Anambra State Government abandoned the hospital to its fate to the detriment of community dwellers who are supposed to be beneficiaries of subsidized health-care services government should provide through such hospitals.
The medical officer in-charge of Mbaukwu general hospital Dr. Ijeamaka Imo told our correspondent that the hospital had the required staff strength but the big challenge was that the hospital did not have medical equipment. She also pointed out that the structures were dilapidated and deplorable as the hospital no longer have male and female wards due to licking roofs and that the offices also lacked chairs and tables.
She added, “Patients don’t sleep when you admit them. Reason is because there is no perimeter fencing here. Behind us are residential houses of the villagers and they made access road through the hospital and walk to their houses. We have had cases of armed robbers coming here to steal what we don’t even have. We had two robbery cases which we reported to the President-General and to the Igwe. We came here on a Monday and found out that the account department was broken into. The pharmacy department too was broken into. So perimeter fencing is a very big challenge here.”
Dr. Imo further regretted that someone had actually built a house on the hospital’s land because the premises were not fenced and to that extent it became vulnerable to invaders and all manner of elements lurking around the hospital to unleash mayhem on the inhabitants. She however recalled that about three years ago, Mbaukwu general hospital had no toilet facilities and according to her, it was most unfortunate and embarrassing that staff and patients used bushes around the hospital for open defecation and convenience.
Though the medical officer admitted that it was in the course of Governor Willie Obiano’s renovation tour of hospitals in the state that Mbaukwu general hospital got two toilets, he expressed worry that the two toilets had no water facility. The situation, according to her, is terrible now as they fought tooth and nail to get water to keep the toilets clean. Dr. Imo equally maintained that the hospital got some beds, sterilizers and a host of other equipment from the state government but complained vehemently that the equipment were grossly inadequate as the hospital currently lacks scanning machines for antenatal mothers as well as theatres for surgical operations.
She also made a case for the state government to upgrade more departments in the hospital to pave way for more efficient service delivery while calling for review of salaries of staff to boost their morale as well as enhance productivity. She reiterated the fact that should government fence the entire surroundings of the hospital, it would help nurses and doctors on night duties to ward off dangers as they were at the mercy of snakes and other nocturnal animals whenever they reported for night shifts.
A Midwife, Mrs. Edith Ezenwosu, told our correspondent that snakes not only attacked nurses and patients in the hospital but also unleashed terror and mayhem on them at the staff quarters and that robbers too attacked the hospital because there was no fence protecting the hospital from such external aggressions. She appealed to Governor Willie Obiano to consider the plight of Mbaukwu general hospital and upgrade it to the status of a general hospital for the overall benefit of the citizenry especially the rural populace where poverty is one of the factors militating against access to quality health care services.