Towards the commemoration of the Aro-British war of 1901-02, Aro citizens living in the United States took a bold step in establishing a medical clinic at Baraki – nearly opposite the High and Customary Courts in Arochukwu. The clinic was to cater for the medical needs of the good people of Arochukwu and her neighbours in Ihechiowa, Isu and Ututu; including those from Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.
The structural edifice was designed and built in conformity with international standards and specifications with all sections of a full-fledged and modern hospital – the OPD section, the in-patient wards, maternity ward/section, pharmacy department, toilets, spacious rooms, operation theatre, et cetera. The clinic was meant for service of Aro people. The good people of Aro in the Diaspora were actually concerned with the medical problems and challenges of their people at home, which was why they had to spend their hard-earned money to embark upon the project. They had good intentions, really.
In order to find out the latest development in the clinic and to ascertain how it was functioning, Aro News visited the clinic on Tuesday, 22 November, 2016 for on-the-spot assessment of the clinic and its general condition, including the appearance of the premises in sanitation.
On arrival, one Helen Ekemma Okoronkwo (of Asaga village) and who said she was a nurse working in the clinic, received Aro News, ditto Miss Chiamaka Nzeji who also indicated she was the laboratory technician in the hospital (a native of Orlu, in Imo state).
As Aro News was discussing with the duo, another woman there, Grace Okoronkwo (who identified herself as a nurse too) joined Felicia Felix (who said she was an orderly serving in the clinic) in the discussion. With the ‘full house,’ Aro News went ahead to ask questions aimed at ascertaining how the clinic was functioning; whether or not in full capacity. Aro News found out that the clinic had one medico, Livinus Ogbonna (from Mbaise, Imo state), one lab technician (as identified above), two ‘nurses,’ one pharmacy technician (who doubled as the hospital administrator – Deaconess Felicia Okoroafor (who said she had served in civilian capacity in the Nigerian Army in Lagos, Sokoto, and other places before retirement). She came to the clinic last year.
Then, Aro News posed the question to them: ‘With one doctor, two nurses, one lab technician, one pharmacy technician-administrator and one orderly, do you think All-Aro USA Medical Clinic can render effective medical services to the Aros and their neighbours?’
‘Yes,’ was the emphatic answer, from the hospital administrator herself, as encored by Ekemma Okoronkwo, two of who spoke to Aro News in the office of the administrator.
‘Do you mean you can manage patients on admission with the staff strength you have?’
‘Yes,’ was the answer, again. She went ahead to indicate that ‘The clinic has all the equipment and items it needs to function well, including a dependable computerised cardiovascular machine that is used to ascertain cardiac status of individuals, and we have since informed Arochukwu people of its presence through announcements in the churches and village heads, and distribution of flyers. We advise Aros to take advantage of the cardiac machine to check their cardiac status when they can …. Some Aro doctors had performed some operations in our theatre last year when they returned,’ the administrator-pharmacist confirmed to Aro News with surety.
Aro News went ahead to ask whether or not the clinic was adequately patronised by the Aros, and the answer was in the affirmative too.
‘They patronise us but we need more patronage.’
After that, Aro News was taken round the magnificent and imposing edifice, and during which time it was found out that, really, the All-Aro USA patriots and altruists had established a legacy in building the clinic; but that with the number of staff members identified and listed before now, the clinic is not only under-staffed but is also not patronised the way it should be, considering the equipment that are on ground therein and the size of the clinic.
Obviously, with one medico, two nurses (assuming they are qualified as that), one lab technician, and one pharmacy technician, the clinic is surely under-staffed, considering the fact that the clinic admits patients for twenty-four hour-services. Is it possible that one doctor can cover the clinic every day, ditto one lab technician, two nurses, and two or three orderlies?’
Obviously, for more patronage, the best would have been two medicos, three nurses who can run shifts, one lab scientist, one lab technician, one pharmacist and one pharmacy technician who will run shifts in the clinic.
The finding of the reporter is that if the required manpower and improved services needed in the All-Aro USA medical clinic are provided, more patients with medical and health problems will definitely seek the services of the clinic towards fulfilling the wishes and aspirations of those who had conceived the idea of building the clinic for the medical benefits by Ndi Aro at home-Arochukwu.
This is where we salute the Aros in the Diaspora for remembering those they have left at home. They are really patriots and altruists of the highest order.