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Delta State public hospitals decay as debt profile hits N500bn

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By RICHARD EGODIBIE

Its no longer a news that Delta state governor, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa is a medical doctor by profession before joining the politics of Nigeria but ironically, in his two and half years in office, nothing has been done remarkably about the health sector in the state.

Findings on a visit to Warri Central Hospital and Sapele General Hospital smack of despicable and total abandonment even as the state’s debt profile hits over N500 billion.

At the Warri Central Hospital, the workers including doctors and nurses lamented the state of utter dilapidation of the hospital. According to the workers, the Okowa-led administration has completely neglected his predecessor’s, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, healthcare project that has helped many Deltans to access basic health needs at almost free rate, leaving the hospital to rot away.

Speaking to NIGERIAN WITNESS on condition of anonymity, a medical doctor attached to the hospital, said Okowa, since Uduaghan left office, has continued to pay deaf ears to the plights of workers.

“Warri Central Hospital is in a state of mess. Our annoyance now is that how can a state governor who claimed to be a medical doctor abandoned everything concerning the hospital. The Okowa government has done nothing in the health sector. Pay a visit here and you will weep for patients over lack of facilities in the hospital. Do you know we have good 15 generating plants in this very hospital? Yet we use rechargeable light even to deliver pregnant women in this very hospital. I am sorry to say, the governor has failed woefully.”

According to the doctor, the situation at the hospital is unfortunate, saying the hospital has turned to slaughters’ slab where people are killed because the place has failed in its capacity as a hospital due to its deterioration at an alarming rate.

“The governor of Delta State, a medical doctor for that matter, should commit himself to providing adequate medical care for its citizenry. It is unfortunate that former Governor Uduaghan, a medical doctor too, left a sound hospital for his fellow doctor who has failed to sustain the tempo.”

Another worker who does not want her name mentioned for fear of victimisation, disclosed that the current mortality rate in the hospital is mindboggling because the Okowa-led government is not interested in the past administration’s free maternal care scheme for pregnant women.

“Former Governor Uduaghan due to his background as a medical doctor, shortly after his inauguration in 2007, introduced the free maternal healthcare policy to checkmate the prevalent high mortality rate in the state. Under the policy, pregnant women in the state, as long as they register with the  state-owned hospitals, are entitled to free treatment throughout their ante-natal period up to delivery whether it involves a Caesarean section (or not). Many deaths were averted because of the policy.

“But now mortality rate has gone off the roof. The Uduaghan administration has to subsidise everything in the hospital but the maternal healthcare policy was totally free. Now the Okowa led government has reversed everything that you must pay through the anus. Currently many pregnant women avoid the hospital because of the financial implications. Instead, they patronise traditional birth attendants who charge less, but lack the capacity to respond to emergencies and complications. Warri Central Hospital is a total mess,” the visibly angry worker said.

At the Sapele General Hospital, Sapele, staff accused Okowa of total neglect of the hospital. The health workers, who pleaded for anonymity, lamented that they use rechargeable lamps and torchlights to work at night due to power outage and none of the generators in the hospital is working.

 

…Sapele General Hospital, Warri

Speaking to our correspondent, a staffer of the hospital said “Life for patients during the night at the Sapele General Hospital has become unbearable due to the negligence on the part of the state governor who is a medical doctor. No electricity during the night hours and the fans are not working.”

“As you can see for yourself, the ward is in total darkness and we are using our own torchlights and rechargeable lamps to work.”

According to a patient in the hospital, patients bring along their own mosquitoes nets due to the fear of mosquitoes bite, stressing that almost all the nets in the windows of the wards are damaged and left unattended to and “one wonders if this General Hospital is in Delta State where there is abundance of resources and in a state among the states that collects the highest allocation from the Federal Government. The ambulance we have here is dead. Sapele General Hospital is a mess. Okowa must stop the diversion of the state’s allocations now.”

…Central Hospital, Warri

Several calls put to the state’s Commissioner for Health, Mr. Nicholas Azinge, were not answered, though a staffer in the Ministry of Health, who confirmed the situation at the Warri Central Hospital and Sapele General Hospital, said the state government was already finding a way to address the situation.

“The state governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, in 2015 approved the remodeling and rehabilitation of the Renal Dialysis Building at the Central Hospital, Warri. This project has since been completed and commissioned. In 2016, he approved monies for the repair of faulty medical equipment in ten hospitals across the state including Central Hospital, Warri. Again, this project has since been completed and the equipment have been put to use in the various hospitals.

“In 2017, the governor provided a new ambulance and incinerator for the hospital, approved two dialysis machines to be supplied to Warri Central Hospital, approved the engagement of 13 consultants including General Surgeons and Paediatricians of whom a good number will be posted to Central Hospital Warri when they resume.” The source said.

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