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Special Report: A peep into Ahidjo’s many dreams and visions of making the UMTH biggest hospital in Nigeria (2)

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Special Report: A peep into Ahidjo’s many dreams and visions of making the UMTH biggest hospital in Nigeria (2)

By: Bodunrin Kayode

The recent celebration, however, of forty years of the UMTH by Professor Ahidjo and his team was a clear indicator that the facility has come of age and there is a need to begin to plan for the next 40 years. And this must be done by facing obvious embarrassing challenges like hiccups in the electricity supply and the rest. I mean taking each one as it comes. Life in his own specialty, which is interventional radiology, would be miserable without steady electricity and computerization of the entire facility if he finishes his second term. Imagine going back to his office after his second term and having to open the windows for fresh air if the cooling facilities are not working. That is why he is working double hard now to fix the fixable.

After the on-going new structures and electricity supply, the right equipment to last for at least the next decade and up-to-date professionals by way of training and retraining is very paramount.
40 years have passed, and the UMTH is still standing. Serving humanity was pronounced on the day of its ceremonial opening by the late Alhaji Shehu Shagari on July 23, 1983. So many waters have literally passed under the bridge, and so many professionals have passed through the narrow corridors of the hospital and retired. My mind goes to the American-trained Professor Emeritus Babatunji Omotara, who is the father of environmental epidemiology. Many have also left since the insurgency started in 2009, while many others have stayed back.

From the day the government started building a specialist hospital on the site until the day the federal government took over and completed it as a one-stop-shop teaching hospital, it has been of the highest standards expected in a third-world country. The first patient was really admitted on February 18, 1982. Although so much still needs to be done to ensure that the level of dilapidation over the years is reduced to a tolerable level, much is also expected from management about the training of certain scarce personnel as soon as all the structures are completed.

Cancer Centre

Just before Professor Mala Sandabe took over as the CMAC, I had hinted to then-CMAC Professor Bashir on the medical records people relationship with sick patients and thereby redirecting the standards of the hospital. He took note to do something about it, and he really did start by making so many moves to correct the wrongs.
I went on another day this time as a patient for treatment, and I saw the way one of the medical records people was speaking to a pregnant woman upstairs at the Obstetrics and Gynecology (O and G) department. I felt really sad that the medical records staff was doing it as if it were her right to speak as such before patients would conform to her directives, even if she was as illiterate as they always presume. This was because she was obviously untrained, and her manners were normal in a hospital, which should compete with a library for silence. How do you ask a pregnant woman in her third trimester if you were responsible for her pregnancy? Who makes such unguarded statements in a hospital? I ended up in the office of Prof. Sandabe and told him the exact location of where I saw the wrongdoing, and he promised to correct it, and this too was done.

Apart from some of these expected excesses, the hospital has been absorbing so many categories of patients, ranging from cases that should have gone to the primary and secondary hospitals before referrals. But I don’t blame them. Hospitals like Umaru Shehu, where Governor Babagana Zulum has done so much to lift the standard, were before now contributing factors for UMTH to admit patients that should have gone through the primary and secondary hospital before referrals. ‘That is why everyone goes to TH’, as the facility is referred to in Maiduguri. Yet they still tug on like the giants they are in the region, even finding time for certain forms of research, as was mentioned by the CMD during the news conference to herald the flag-off of activities to mark 40 years. Right now, they are looking into the prevalence of kidney challenges in Borno as a whole. And we expect the result to be out very soon.

READ ALSO: https://newsng.ng/police-witness-tells-iip-sars-how-peter-ekwealor-slumped-after-allegedly-confessing-to-killing-asp-akoh-ude/

Before The unbundling of the single-stop hospital structure.

A lot of history has been recorded during the first tenure of the CMD, but I paid special attention to the old structure built by the COSTAIN construction company, where the late Emeritus Professor Umaru Shehu occupies the second floor like the colossus that he is. He was not my focus when Prof. Ahidjo took over the management of the facility. I actually wanted to see Professor Babatunji Omotara, who is now retired after 40 years of training medical practitioners. So I climbed up the two-story building, sat in his old, moderate office, and we had our first chat on cholera. He responded briskly because the disease was killing lots of people at the Muna garage axis of Maiduguri, and I needed to add the perception of community medicine in my report to sound more professional with my sources. He stood up and asked me to please allow him a minute to ease himself, then returned to our discussion on how to stem the tide of the spread of cholera, which had gone out of hand and was killing people daily.

I expected him to use a private facility just within his office to suit his status as a professor. But he took a bunch of keys and headed to a shared facility outside his office. That, to me, was strange and needed correction. It occurred to me that something really had to be done to make these academics a bit more comfortable than some of them are now. A senior professor of such high status must have his own convenience and kitchenette so that he can function very well without too many distractions. It should not be optional in case he did not demand it. Returning downstairs, I discovered the building was leaking due to heavy rains. It leaked on the ground floor, which used to house the CMD’s before now. Sources allege that the leakage was from a tank upstairs instead. Whatever it was needed correction.

The newly promoted consultants without offices walked on the water into their MDCAN office to hang out while waiting for their calls. It’s obviously an old building, even though it has not yet expired, based on my findings at the works department. But something had to be done to correct so much wear and tear that had occurred over the years because it would surely become obsolete one day and expire. That is when such buildings should be pulled down due to old age if known contemporary technology must be applied. But to preempt that time, one could understand that the CMD, who was born into a family whose father was a builder in Maiduguri, can easily see through these weak structures and is creating a plan B for almost all of them before they hit about 100 years and expire and must go one day.

Many other problems need attention in the hospital. Problems like finance have bedeviled the facility and forced the CMD to begin to hunt for plan B’s and C’s to keep the hospital community going. He actually stressed the issue of finance as a major problem affecting the management of the hospital during a news conference to announce the flag-off of activities for 40 years of the hospital. To Ahidjo, “if finance is settled, we would have cash to do a lot of things, including lighting up the new facilities scattered around the compound.”

Perhaps due to serial disappointments from the Yola electricity company, the CMD has gone beyond the level of complete reliance on diesel for the generation of electricity. Most of the facility has backup electricity due to solar panel supplies, which are relatively cheap due to the abundant sun in the savanna. Whatever foundation was set by the first indigenous CMD, Prof. Suleiman Lagundoye, in 1984–85 needs a lot of fine tuning by the first CMD to think of a futuristic plan to absorb the endless expansion brought about by modern medicine. These new structures have increased the beds in the facility beyond imagination, making it the largest hospital in the country today by way of capacity to admit and treat.

READ ALSO:https://newsng.ng/the-plight-of-farida/


For the record, the 40-year celebration proper

The celebration proper was quite elaborate. It was handled by a committee that was chaired by Professor Shehu Liberty of the Department of Public Administration, with members like Professor Danjuma Gambo of the Mass Communications Department of the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID).


It started with Friday prayers on the 14th of July and extended to Sunday, July 23rd. A special church program was held on Sunday, July 16th, followed by a press conference held in the conference room of the hospital administration block the following day. Other highlights of the celebration included a walk around the giant old hospital structure led by the CMD and management team and several union leaders, including the association of resident doctors, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), consultants and their MDCAN colleagues, the nurses, who are the largest union on the ground, and some of the gentlemen of the media. Touching on social responsibilities, a medical and surgical outreach was held in Kaleri and Gwange wards in the city of Maiduguri and a surgical outreach at the new trauma center of the hospital.

There was also a day for career guidance at the Zulum auditorium and conference center for young people. That was followed by two public lectures in the same hall. Former President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Ayuba Wabba, and former CMD Professor Idris Mohammed gave the anniversary lectures. Wabba wanted unity among all the players in the sector in a long lecture, but that is for another day.

They also had the commissioning of the child and adolescent center and the foundation-laying ceremony of some legacy projects by vice president Kashim Shettima. This was followed by a dinner and award night at the multipurpose hall of the government house in Maiduguri. Several individuals were given special prices for their contributions to making the facility stand to this day, in spite of the lingering torment of the insurgent Boko Haram in their backyard. I would have written a book if I continued the sequence seen over the last four years in this facility. But not to bore my readers, I will be running the highlights of the lectures separately at the fullness of time. Those treaties released by the two lecturers really need special handling, especially that of Comrade Wabba, who called for unity among warring professionals within the health sector.

Special Report: A peep into Ahidjo’s many dreams and visions of making the UMTH biggest hospital in Nigeria (2)

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US, in 2023 Commits $600 million to Health in Nigeria

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US, in 2023 Commits $600 million to Health in Nigeria

By: Michael Mike

The United States has committed $20 billion into various health programmes in Africa, it said on Wednesday.

A released by the United States Embassy in Nigeria also revealed that: “In 2023 alone, the United States invested over $600 million in health assistance in Nigeria,” with U.S. partnerships on health in Nigeria saving millions of lives, strengthened health systems, and better prepared Nigeria and the region for current and future health security threats.

The release stated that: “The following are the facts about U.S. government partnership with Nigeria for health now and in the future: Preventing Malaria: Malaria threatens more than half the world’s population and claims the life of a child every minute, and the United States, together with our global partners, has helped save more than 11.7 million lives and prevented 2 billion malaria infections globally.

“Malaria is a leading cause of death in Nigeria, but malaria deaths in Nigeria have fallen by 55 percent since 2000. To advance Nigeria’s national. strategy to counter malaria, since 2011, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has taken steps to prevent illness and death by providing: Nearly 83 million insecticide-treated bed nets; 22 million malaria preventive treatments in pregnancy; 164 million fast acting malaria medicines; Insecticide to spray 121,000 homes; Over 102 million rapid diagnostic tests for malaria.

“Ending HIV: About 39 million people live with HIV globally, including an estimated 2 million in Nigeria. The United States and Nigeria are focused on ending HIV as a public health threat by 2030. The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has expanded HIV treatment and reduced HIV transmissions, saving more than 25 million lives in more than 50 partner countries over the past two decades and giving over 1.6 million Nigerians access to antiretroviral therapy. In Nigeria, PEPFAR has invested a total of more than $8.3 billion in the national HIV response.

“In 2023, PEPFAR resources supported:
Over 12 million people with HIV counseling and testing services; More than 2 million pregnant women with HIV counseling and testing services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV; More than 1.8 million people living with HIV with TB/HIV services; More than 1.5 million orphans and vulnerable children with care and
support services

“Delivering Vaccines: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States helped Nigeria vaccinate 70 percent of its eligible populations. The U.S. government supports Nigeria to control, eliminate, and eradicate other vaccine-preventable diseases as well. Through technical expertise and programmatic support, the United States collaborates with international and local partners to strengthen immunization systems and expand routine vaccine delivery.

“In the course of these efforts, the U.S. government has: Donated 44 million doses of COVID vaccine; Supported vaccination of 2,145,063 children for polio in security-compromised areas, helping Nigeria become certified free of wild poliovirus in 2020; Supported introduction of four new vaccines for children, including
rotavirus, IPV2, measles, and HPV.

“Advancing Global Health Security: The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as Ebola, mpox, and other outbreaks in the country and region, has shown the devastating impacts of infectious disease on health, economies, and societies. Together, the United States and Nigeria are working to strengthen health security capacities. Several U.S. government agencies partner with the Nigerian government to prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from emerging public health threats. Through these collaborations, we are protecting the health of Nigerians, Americans, and people across the globe. Key activities in Nigeria include: Establishing a Public Health Emergency Management Program that has trained 55 national and subnational emergency managers who have responded to seven priority outbreaks; Enhancing Nigeria’s national disease surveillance systems, by training more than 800 epidemiologists and scientists to promote global best practices; Developing Nigeria’s laboratory diagnostics to test for Ebola, mpox, yellow fever, measles, Lassa fever, cholera, and cerebrospinal meningitis, thus strengthening Nigeria’s ability to quickly detect and respond to outbreaks.”

US, in 2023 Commits $600 million to Health in Nigeria

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Lassa Fever: FG Launches National Deratisation Exercise

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Lassa Fever: FG Launches National Deratisation Exercise

By: Michael Mike

The Hon Minister of State for Environment Dr. Iziaq Adekunle Salako has launched the National Deratization framework exercise to prevent and control the spread of Lassa fever in the Country.

The Minister who was respresented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mahmud Kambari while briefing the Press in Abuja stated that ‘I stand to provide an update on the recent outbreak of Lassa Fever reported by 44 Army Referral Hospital in Kaduna State and subsequent spread of the disease in the state ‘.

He said the meeting with the State Emergency Response Team (SERT), has provided the etiological pattern of the disease. 12 suspected cases was recorded with 6 mortality, 2 additional cases originated from another facility in Barau Dikko Hospital , while 92 persons are under surveillance as contact person, adding that the team has visited the affected facility (44 Army Referral Hospital) on 25th of February 2024 which gathered information as follows:

The general hygiene and cleanliness of the hospital was assessed as well as measures put in place to prevent the spread of the disease through disinfection and decontamination were both deemed effective and found adequate.

The team further confirmed the efficacy of the treatment by using an ITP machine and use of sodium hydrochloride in correct proportion and formulation to ensure safety of the facility.

The team recommended that the facility be deratized to reduce the population of the disease carrying vector, specifically rats.

He noted that our’s in the Environment Sector is to provide solution, make the environment safe and unconducive for the vector to grow because it is responsible for the disease.

The Registrar, Environmental Health Council of Nigeria (EHCON), Dr. Yakubu Baba Muhammad reiterated that the Minister’s directives on all the facilities whether public or private should undergo derating exercise for examples hotels, markets, restaurants and recreation centres after which they will be issued Derating Exemption Certificate by EHCON.

Dr. Yakubu disclosed that the ministry has directed the Council to embark on massive capacity building to update the knowledge of the practioners on the new innovations, new approaches to control and address the disease.

He added that component of health education, promotion and creation of awareness in the communities also plays an important role.

“At the community level, the issue of waste management cannot be over emphasized. At this time and period, reminant food should not be exposed while our food stuff and stores should be rats proof. In the character of rats once there is no food, rats vacates the house”. He added

He further emphasized that another approach to combat the spread of this disease is by getting to the grassroot, its a collective responsibility as government is doing their job, citizens should do their parts.

He also said farmers using roads for drying farm products should be discouraged from doing so because this gives rats to come and urinate, defecate; passing feaces that contains the virus that causes disease and contamination of the food.

Yakubu warned that our communities should reduce or stop taking bush meat, saying is not healthy for now because the virus has residual effect even after the death of the animal.

Lassa Fever: FG Launches National Deratisation Exercise

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Establishment of Oncology, Nuclear Medicine Centres In Six Nigerian Teaching Hospitals: The Exclusion of UMTH

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Establishment of Oncology, Nuclear Medicine Centres In Six Nigerian Teaching Hospitals: The Exclusion of UMTH

By: Yusuf Adamu

The president approval in setting up these centres across the nation is a welcome development and it will go along way in improving the healthcare service delivery which can be viewed as the path towards achieving the renewed hope.
The following institutions marked for the establishment of oncology and nuclear medicine centres include:

(1) University of Benin Teaching Hospital
(2) Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital
(3) University of Nigeria (Nsukka) Teaching Hospital
(4) Federal Teaching Hospital, Katsina
(5) University of Jos Teaching Hospital
(6) Lagos University Teaching Hospital.”
In addition, within same approval, other institutions are to benefit from the expansion projects in the area of radiology, clinical pathology, medical and radiation oncology, and cardiac catheterization. This include as follows:
(1) North-West: Reference Hospital, Kaduna — (Radiology, clinical pathology, medical and radiation oncology)
(2) South-East: Medical Diagnostic Centre Complex, Enugu — (Radiology, clinical pathology, medical & radiation oncology)
(3) North-West: Usman Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto — (Diagnostic and intervention radiology, clinical pathology, and cardiac catheterisation)
(4) South-West: University College Hospital, Ibadan — (Diagnostic and intervention radiology, clinical pathology, and cardiac catheterization)
(5) South-South: University of Uyo Teaching Hospital — (Radiology and clinical pathology)
(6) North-East: Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Bauchi — (Radiology and clinical pathology)
(7) South-South: Federal Medical Centre, Asaba — (Radiology and clinical pathology)
(8) North-Central: Harmony Advanced Diagnostic Centre Complex, Ilorin — (Radiology and clinical pathology)
(9) North-Central: Jos University Teaching Hospital — (Radiology and clinical pathology)
(10) North-East: Federal Medical Centre, Nguru — (Radiology and clinical pathology).
The exclusion of University of Maiduguri from this critical project is worrisome owing to the fact that it has served a citadel of knowledge in this field and has trained specialist this fields. The institution has significantly served as a point of call to a lot of cancer cases across the country (Kano, Yobe, Bauchi etc) and has performed well. As currently, I have 2 cases of it from other states which they are currently receiving treatment at UMTH. More so, on need basis in only Maiduguri MMC according to the Maiduguri Cancer Registry (2016) recorded about 262 cancer cases in a year and this has been on the increase owing to the influx of patients from other states. One fact remains that that the UMTH has done well in this aspect. Therefore, it’s inclusion of it would go along boast their performance.

However, the inclusion of ATBU teaching hospital is a benefactor of the Minister owing to the fact that the minister home town. But the question is what has been the cases of Cancer Bauchi and its environs? Consequently, need basis, relevance and other key factors needs to be considered in the future when selecting such an important project so that the benefit of it can be realised to an optimal level.
Hence forth, synergy between key or principal officers in the Health sector is cogent in marking out institutions to benefit from such a strategic projects.

Hon. Yusuf Adamu is the former political adviser to then governor of Borno state and current VP Kashim Shettima

Establishment of Oncology, Nuclear Medicine Centres In Six Nigerian Teaching Hospitals: The Exclusion of UMTH

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