Established about fifty years ago, Arochukwu General Hospital had catered for the medical needs of the whole area originally under Arochukwu Division before local governments were created in 1976 by the Obasanjo military regime of that period.
And when the late Mazi S G Ikoku became Commissioner for Health, more and the necessary equipment were brought to the hospital. Thus, nearly everything needed in the hospital was there. So, Aros and their neighbours had the best in secondary health care services then, including the people of Iwerre, Okpoto, et cetera that are now in Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.
The hospital had adequate numbers of medical personnel: doctors, pharmacists, lab scientists, nurses, ward maids, caterers, mortuary attendants, caretakers and other sundry staff. Thus, the hospital premises were perennially kept clean, tidy and looked attractive to patients who patronised and sought services from the hospital.
That ideal situation obtained till the Second Republic politics ended – in 1983. When the military intervened in the political process in the country on 31 December, 1983, democratic structures were destroyed and, with time, abnormal things started taking place and now ‘things have changed,’ and so has Arochukwu General Hospital. Before his regime expired on 29 May 2015, the Theodore Orji-led Abia state government had renovated many general hospitals in the state. One of such hospitals was Arochukwu General Hospital. That government had renovated nearly all the structures in the hospital, painted same and since then it has been beautiful and attractive to the eyes.
So, on Thursday, 24 November, 2016, Aro News visited the hospital again after doing so the previous day. On arrival, the correspondent went straight to the OPD (out-patient department) where a worker therein had responded to the questions posed to her.
According to her ‘the hospital has two doctors (the junior one resides in Baraki while the senior one shuttles from Umuahia to Arochukwu, and stays for a number of days as he likes before returning to Umuahia.) We also have three nurses, three pharmacy attendants, one pharmacy technician, and two health attendants. We have also two mortuary attendants, one lab technician, two lab attendants and four labourers (caretakers.)’
From this, it became clear that the hospital, therefore, had no laboratory scientist and no pharmacist. So, those who handle drug dispensation in the hospital are the pharmacy attendants mainly, and with only four labourers, the task of keeping the hospital clean hangs in the balance.
According to another respondent, ‘the hospital is bushy because only four caretakers (labourers) are employed to keep it clean and, obviously, they cannot do so effectively. That is why you see weeds every where here. So, we need more hands in this regard.’
Again, with no pharmacist and with one lab technician, Arochukwu General Hospital can not render effective laboratory science services to the people. It is obvious that a lab technician can never be effective in the discharge of lab science duties in the hospital. This is even more disturbing when we take into consideration that one of the structures renovated to the liking of the people was the imposing building housing the laboratory section of the hospital.
So, the hospital invariably needs one more doctor, three more nurses, a pharmacist/one more pharmacy technicians; four more caretakers (labourers) for effective services to the good people of Arochukwu, particularly in the area of environmental cleanliness of the hospital. This was corroborated by the correspondents who had spoken to Aro News.
But one correspondent went ahead to pledge that the workers in the hospital would always give the people the best in services. ‘But we actually need more hands and we count on your people to help in this regard, please.’ She pleaded.