Medical, nursing and general health services have significantly improved in Arochukwu General Hospital located at Baraki, the administrative headquarters of Arochukwu local government area of Abia state.
The observation was made when the duo of Aro News Bureau Correspondent and a stakeholder in Arochukwu cum freelance journalist, Emmanuel Emenike (of Oror village), visited the hospital on Monday, 28 August, 2017 and during which time the duo had an exclusive interview with the two most senior of the four doctors that work in the hospital, Chidi Okafor (a native of Ozuitem) and Kennedy Ochomma (of Atani, Arochukwu). According to the two doctors, some other workers and patients interviewed at the hospital, medical services have improved significantly at the hospital that has restored twenty-four-services and resuscitated the theatre unit of the hospital where operations can now take place.
According to the doctors, the hospital now renders effective medical, nursing and pharmaceutical services. Apart from having four doctors in residence (two of who are members of the NYSC) that ensure twenty-four-hour services, the hospital also has six qualified nurses serving in the hospital and a pharmacy technician and other auxiliary staff members who handle drugs and other medicinal properties in the hospital.
The doctors also disclosed that the accident and emergency unit of the hospital that will be handling emergency cases had been re-established and that the appropriate sign-post would soon be mounted at the front of the hospital premises to that effect. They also disclosed that the abandoned scanning machine had been brought back to use and the appropriate officers re-trained to operate and use it effectively in addition to making functional again the Eye Clinic in the hospital.
On whether or not that the needed equipment were in the hospital, the doctors answered in the affirmative, and went ahead to say that the mortuary unit and its services have been improved and that the appropriate shelves for the deposition of corpses have been built in accordance with the directive of the chief executive officer of the Hospitals Management Board.
Also, according to the doctors, the hospital wards into which patients were admitted indiscriminately before now had been divided into male, female and children’s wards as what the situation should be. The new arrangement, they went ahead to explain, would go a long way in discouraging cross-infections among the patients just as it would improve service delivery in the hospital.
But all has not been so rosy in the hospital. During the interview, we found out that Doctors Chidi Okafor and Kennedy Ochomma, who could be regarded as patriots because of the sacrifices they have been making in the hospital since arriving there, had been sleeping on bare floor with their mattresses in the empty quarters where they live in the hospital since their arrival, just as they have no water supply of any sort and only relied on rain water for drinking and other purposes even as there were no household items or furniture items in the quarters they had even ‘renovated’ with their own money! They expressed their worry about how they would manage in terms of water supply when the current rainy season ends from November! In fact, at that point of the discussion the reporter felt emotionally bad and worried about the suffering of those who had elected to come and serve in Arochukwu (almost a forgotten town with dilapidated infrastructure), in promoting and sustaining the life and longevity of the people of the area, and not considering the nature of the roads that lead to and from the town, mosquito infestation, and general decay in the ancient town of Arochukwu!
To compound the problems of the doctors, the hospital relied on public power supply, as there was no power-generating plant in the hospital for alternative power supply when ‘NEPA takes light’ in rendering medical services to the people. The doctors, therefore, appealed for the provision of water to the hospital, mounting of a power plant, provision of more mowers for grass-cutting activities as the few caretakers in the hospital could hardly match the expansive premises in cleaning and grass-cutting activities, and for the perimeter fencing of the general hospital. The head of the Nursing Services Department in the hospital had also indicated, on interview, that a male lunatic had been invading the hospital from time to time to attack the workers, especially the female nurses, emphasising the need to fence the hospital round to safe-guard the hospital and to check further invasion by lunatics.
Those we spoke to also appealed for the completion of the doctors’ residence now under construction by the state government, including the speedy completion of the Solar Energy project embarked upon by the Energy Commission of Nigeria in the hospital, the construction of which is handled by Maxconsult Engineering Services Ltd.
They also pointed out that the borehole project being handled by Nzuko Arochukwu had either not been completed as to provide water in the hospital community or it has been abandoned by those who were handling it that it does serve the hospital as what the initiators had in mind in the provision of water.
In general, the hospital still wore a dirty outlook as the entire premises was over-grown with weeds and looked bushy and unkempt by the time we visited the hospital. But medical, nursing and pharmaceutical services had improved significantly in the hospital where the ill ones in the town of Arochukwu, the public officers serving therein and those in the neighbouring towns of Ututu, Ihechiowa, Isu and other ones in the neighbouring Akwa Ibom and Cross River state could go and access medical care that are now provided in the hospital.