Connect with us


Surviving Lassa fever in Nigeria: The stories of Ngozi and Oluchi



Surviving Lassa fever in Nigeria: The stories of Ngozi and Oluchi

By: Michael Mike

“My mother-in-law asked me how I was feeling, and I told her I was fine, but I knew I was not,” says Ngozi, a 28-year-old petty trader from Abakaliki. “I was stooling, vomiting and couldn’t keep my eyes open.” After trying various treatments at home, Ngozi was taken to hospital in Abakaliki, in southeast Nigeria’s Ebonyi state, where she was diagnosed with Lassa fever. “After two days there, my health deteriorated and I even lost consciousness at some point,” she says.
Lassa fever is a haemorrhagic fever that causes serious damage to various organs, reducing the body’s ability to function. The virus is contagious and can spread from person to person via bodily fluids, including saliva, urine, blood, and vomit. The disease affects 100,000 to 300,000 people every year across Western Africa and causes around 5,000 deaths. Last year in Nigeria, there were 8,978 suspected cases and 1,227 confirmed cases of Lassa fever (Nigerian Centre for Disease Control).
The city of Abakaliki has seen repeated outbreaks of the disease since 2018, when an MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) team arrived to help identify people with symptoms and care for patients in Alex-Ekueme Federal Teaching Hospital (AE-FUTHA). Around 600 km further north, a second MSF team has been helping care for patients with Lassa fever in Tafawa Balewa hospital, Bauchi state, since 2022. Last year, the two MSF teams cared for 618 patients with suspected or confirmed Lassa fever.
Spread by rats
Lassa fever is spread by a species of rat which is found mainly in three states in eastern and southern Nigeria: Edo, Ondo and Ebonyi. When infected rodents feed on food that is left out, they leave traces of the virus via their saliva and faeces. The disease usually peaks in the dry season when rats scavenge for food around people’s houses.
“Transmission of Lassa fever occurs throughout the year, but large seasonal outbreaks occur during the dry season, from December to April, when rats leave the fields to find food from other sources, such as people’s houses,” says Ben Uzoma, MSF health promotion manager.
To help tackle the disease at source, MSF has launched a ‘vector control strategy’ in local communities in Abakaliki, which includes setting rat traps, using rodenticides and sharing health information messages on proper waste management, food preparation and storage.
Diagnostic difficulties
When a person is infected with the virus, they may experience symptoms including a fever, body aches, a stomach-ache and vomiting – symptoms very similar to those of malaria, which can make it difficult to identify cases of Lassa fever in a timely manner.
Oluchi, a 26-year-old mother of four, from Ebonyi state, does not know how she contracted the disease, but she recalls when the symptoms started. “I started having a high fever and was vomiting,” she says. “My husband took me to a private hospital, where I was administered malaria medication, but the symptoms only worsened. The doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me, so they referred me to Alex-Ekueme hospital to test for Lassa fever.”
To help detect cases of Lassa fever early, MSF has developed a screening form in collaboration with Alex-Ekueme hospital, with which healthcare workers can spot suspected cases by recording and analysing patients’ general and major symptoms and matching it with their health history and contact with rodents or an infected person.
Patient care
As soon as a patient arrives at AE-FUTHA with suspected Lassa fever, they are admitted to the hospital’s isolation centre, built by MSF. Patients who test positive are immediately moved to the ‘virology unit’ for treatment. This barrier measure is put in place to separate Lassa fever patients from other patients and minimise the risk of infection for healthcare workers and patients’ relatives.
“After my test came out positive, I started receiving treatment,” says Ngozi. “They gave me food, water, and everything I needed. So many doctors and nurses constantly checked on me throughout the day, and after seven days my test results came out negative.”
Emotional support
Contracting Lassa fever can take a toll on one’s emotional and psychological wellbeing. MSF mental health teams provide counselling and psychosocial support to patients with suspected or confirmed Lassa fever throughout their hospital stay, through individual and group discussions, as well as playing games and doing puzzles.
“My healing was rapid and I received a lot of support from mental health counsellors,” says Ngozi. “They were always present during my treatment.”
Oluchi’s experience with Lassa was so harrowing that she thought she was going to die. “I got so scared at the thought of dying – I was terrified,” she says. “But one of the MSF mental health counsellors came often to comfort me and told me not to worry.”
Before discharge, patients are provided with information on expected symptoms and potential mental health impacts, so they are well-informed and prepared for life as a survivor of Lassa fever. Patients’ families also receive support from the mental health team to help them understand and deal with their relatives’ condition. “At the time, I was short-tempered,” remembers Ngozi. “Thankfully, my family understood why, as the mental health counsellor had informed them beforehand.”
Challenges of tackling Lassa fever
Despite MSF’s efforts, challenges remain in tackling outbreaks of the disease in Nigeria. These include a lack of awareness among health workers, a shortage of training and research on Lassa fever, limited resources in comparison to the cost of treatment, and limited access to healthcare facilities. Alex-Ekueme Federal Teaching Hospital is the only treatment centre for Lassa fever in southeast Nigeria, while most hospitals across Western Africa are not fully equipped to handle complex cases.
Meanwhile, for many people with symptoms, seeking medical attention in a hospital remains the last choice. Sick people usually start by consulting medicine sellers or traditional healers, with the result that patients often show up late at hospital with severe complications. By this stage, their chances of survival may be slim.
Survivors of Lassa fever also often face stigma from their communities due to a widespread lack of knowledge about the disease; some people mistakenly believe that survivors are contagious and that catching the disease is a sign of poor hygiene or a punishment from God.
“When I returned home, I was excluded by my peers,” says Oluchi. “There was a rumour going around that I had been in the mortuary because of how skinny I was. People were running away from me because of the contagious nature of the disease.”
After leaving hospital and returning to their communities, survivors continue to receive support from MSF’s mental health staff, who do their best to ensure that they are reintegrated back into their communities.
Working with communities
At the same time, MSF health promoters work with communities to counter misinformation and lack of knowledge about Lassa fever. “We let people know that those who have been treated and cured from Lassa fever are no longer contagious,” says Uzoma.
During the peak season of the disease, MSF’s health promotion teams organise health education and community engagement activities, targeting religious centres, markets, and schools in hotspot areas. With the help of flyers, leaflets, flip charts, demonstrations and radio spots, the teams share information on Lassa fever and make sure that people know where they can receive free medical care.
The work of MSF’s health promoters continues year-round. “We know that behavioural change does not happen instantly and that we must continuously talk about it before people start changing,” says Uzoma.

Surviving Lassa fever in Nigeria: the stories of Ngozi and Oluchi

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


UMTH: How Professor Ahidjo’s Transformation Agenda Impacted the Information Unit



UMTH: How Professor Ahidjo’s Transformation Agenda Impacted the Information Unit

By: James Bwala

The UMTH PR and Information Department is statutorily responsible for presenting the hospital objectives, decisions, and actions in their true and most desirable perspective, contributing to the awareness of governments, institutions, and the general public about UMTH and its activities, while presenting UMTH as a professional institution in the field of medicine, data analysis,  and projections. But until the CMD took deliberate steps to rejigger this unit, many stories about the transformation that has been going on in this institution would barely get to the public.

The PR and Information Unit has performed primarily on internal communications, leading a traditional way of telling its stories only to a very few individuals without much effort to tell its story beyond the four corners of the hospital. In fact, many staff confesses to the fact that they have started getting readily available information on the activities going on in the hospital with driven interest only when the CMD took over and shifted focus to getting the public’s attention through the active reporting of its activities.

“The decision of the management team to engage public media professionals has helped the hospital in no small way in our efforts to achieve the desired outcome for our activities. It has also strategically helped us in blowing our trumpet to what we have achieved as well as shielding us from mischieve makers and armed chair commentators about what is and what is not and all the yes and no questions that we have to say for ourselves, especially in the court of public opinion or in the circle of murky waters when mischievous individuals seek to pull up in their fashion.” The CMD said this during a chat with NEWSng.

Professor Ahidjo had been in the system long enough to understand the matrix of operations and lead a management that speaks volumes about its achievements. Therefore, when he came as CMD, he understood that the department and unit he needed to work closely with was also the PR and Information Unit, as it holds the key to making the day better if given the needed attention to function well. With the new approach to gatekeeping, he quickly moves to ensure that he increases staff strength and conditioning by training and retraining through consultancies for results.

“There are improvements in the quality of staff because Ahidjo also engaged some journalists to work with the information department to achieve the desired results. He also bought the necessary equipment for quality production from a videographer to steal cameras and computers. The information unit at the UMTH is now better. It has been very silent in the past, but since Professor Ahidjo came in as CMD, the information department has come alive. Although not without some little needs for improvement, the work that Professor Ahidjo did in transforming the PR and Information Unit is commendable. What I think is needed at the moment is for the unit to grow into a directorate since the federal government has given approval for such across the federal institutions. If this unit is upgraded to a directorate, it is going to have a greater impact on discharging duty.. Dauda Iliya, the Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists in Borno State, who has been close to the information department, made this observation while speaking to NEWSng on the current relationship the journalists in Borno enjoy with the PR and Information Unit at UMTH.

Speaking also to a cross-section of journalists in Maiduguri, they said that

In many organizations or institutions, the PR and Information Unit remains in the background or relegated in significance, but at the UMTH, it is understood that the administrator is well informed about their duties and always carries the department along in the discharge of his responsibility. Why an organization or administrator may not have the same understanding as what is obtained under Ahidjo’s management team is largely due to the little or no attention given to this department despite its importance to such an organization or institution.

According to journalists in Borno, the department takes the lead in ensuring that every department or unit is gatekeeper to ensure the right information gets to the public, deescalates rumors, and protects the organization or institution from media mercenaries, who are constantly on a scavenger hunt for negative stories for a targeted analysis, which usually comes hard on the executives and top management of such organizations or institutions. At the UMTH, they recount the number of times journalists visited, and the unit plays the voice and role in linking journalists to either the management or doctors that need to speak concerning their operations, and Professor Ahmed Ahidjo always has his doors open for questions.

In their findings on the relationships established between the PR and Information Unit with journalists in Borno State, media practitioners described the efforts that resulted in such a harmonious relationship with UMTH to largely the accessibility and open-mindedness of the CMD when it comes to media. According to them, it is easy to know who is in charge of an organization or institution from the reception of anyone seeking to make journalistic findings from discussions with the departmental head of the PR and Information Unit.


“It was different with UMTH under Professor Ahidjo. Several times I go there, and it is easy for me to access the information I need to report on. When it became necessary that I needed to speak with the CMD or CMAC, the connection from the department told me that the management team understood the importance of the information unit..”One of the journalists said:.

While elaborating on his understanding with the PR and Information Unit at UMTH, the Metro-Watch Correspondent, Bodunrin Kayode, told NEWSng that, “I will say that Professor Ahidjo is a PR official himself. He is the No. 1 PR official at UMTH. To me, he is not just an administrator. He is not like other people who just do their job and do not care about the image of their institution. You know there are some people who, when you give them a job, will focus on their job and forget about other things. But in the case of Ahidjo, I will say that he is concerned and cares about the image of the hospital. The few times that I have interacted with him in terms of reporting,  he always gives positive input into what should be the outcome. He cares much about what news comes out of the hospital, and as such, he cares to ensure that the right thing is done. He thinks that even though he does not have the power to be 100 percent perfect, he tries to do his best to attract a positive image to the institution, thereby making him very close to the unit that controls the information flow of the institution.

“I think information management is not restricted to professionals; any wise person should care about his or her image and the image of the organization he or she is heading. It is a fact that Professor Ahidjo is a wise person who can count on that sense. He is very sensitive to reactions to issues coming from within or outside that come to his hearing. I recall a time when a colleague told me about information he received about the hospital, and I asked the CMD for clarification. He said, ‘Kayode, you have been here for a while now to know that such information is not true. That, to me, shows the level of care he has about information filtering about the institution under his administration. This is unlike how some administrators take issues concerning them or their organization and, in the end, fall into trouble.

“Professor Ahmed Ahidjo will always contribute to what is humanly possible. I also think that he has a very good relationship with his staff generally. There was a time I was chatting with the PRO, Mrs. Justina Anaso, and she described the CMD as a “goodman.” In fact, she said that he operates with her department as family. He tries to bring everybody close. The CMD has been very creative, and his impact is felt in all the departments and units in the UMTH. Although I will say that there are still needs that require attention in the PR and Information Unit, I have seen new faces of staff, which means that the CMD is doing something by bringing more hands to help him achieve more in the hospital. I believe some of the achievements to be made are coming gradually, but in general, he has done much.

“He has created so many centers in the hospital and is working round the clock with his management team to leave a footprint in the hospital. I hope that he will pull out the PR and Information Unit to have their own structure. That is a major impact he has to give them to enable them to operate as a directorate. I believe with a directorate of information, he will create a newsroom where journalists can come to brainstorm and create more positive impact for effective coverage of the activities in this large hospital.”

UMTH: How Professor Ahidjo’s Transformation Agenda Impacted the Information Unit

Continue Reading






By: Bodunrin Kayode

One of the greatest weaknesses of any State council of the Nigerian Union of journalists NUJ and it’s inability to unionize effectively is communication. This is also the reason why some state councils struggle to call for congresses where they are made to account for their stewardship. Sadly, a lot of our colleagues who are elected as leaders sometimes fail to realize that the greatest weapon anyone of us comrades can use to quench strife is the engagement of the entire congress in effective communication of the truth. The mere fact that we call ourselves comrades from the days of Baba Jolaosho, to Sani Zoro up till today means that we are still under pressure to give ourselves good governance. Some of us are yet to understand that we are an elite group of professionals who should have some level of entitlement in our press centre like the lawyers have in their Bar centre. Not the present situation in which real members cannot “breath” while non members evade the centre as if they are stake holders in the place. They crowd themselves in our reception room in the name of watching football and sometimes make life difficult for members who want to concentrate and breath properly even during news conferences and seminars. They perpetuate all these wrongs in our professional space because the press centre committee has not been able to stamp its foot down and bring proper solution to the myriads of problems in the place. How many passerbys can be able to evade the maiduguri Bar Centre in the name of watching European football the way these ones are doing to us? What is wrong in creating a viewing centre for them even for free in the front arena which is public space where they belong if we so love them? When will the press centre committee wake up to its responsibilities and stop this evasion of even our recently furnished hall all in the name of charging of phones by these band wagon of entitlement monsters? What do they have in common with journalists that they want to become members of the NUJ through the backdoor without registration? And why is the centre committee leaving all its responsibilities to the executive to carry out? Is this a signal that they are so inept that congress should begin to think of taking action against them? So many questions have come up with this madness that needs answers.

To an ordinary member of the NUJ, good governance means maximization of the phenomenon of welfarism that will take us to the next level of this present economy which has been badly affected by the withdrawal of petroleum subsidy. Not the present choke up mentality being experienced in the centre in which non members are impeding us from breathing. You cannot discuss matters affecting our union freely without non members picking it up for the front shop gossip mill which flourishes there. But I don’t blame them 100 percent. These were seeds sowed long ago which the present exco led by chairman Dauda Ilya are trying to up root. And uproot we shall, even with the help of our Zonal bosses.

When a particular breed of Comrades of the NUJ decide within themselves that it’s not important to call for congresses to intimate its members about what is pending and what has been done, it’s for their own good. And when a particular executive decides to forgo the very act especially when it concerns the selling of part of the commonwealth of the comrades for a paltry N14 million going by not to recent exchange rate without permission of congress, we all saw what happened to them. However, we have equally seen what the regular exercise of congress by the current council has done to correct that kind of heinous crime which has virtually destroyed the credibility and comradeship any one of them can offer even if the entire land was recovered. The truth is that gone are the days when comrades stayed away from congress or the press centre because of insurgency. We now have a new era in which a lot is done in a transparent manner and when colleagues fail to attend they know what the present resolution on that is now and why they will be shooting themselves on the foot by abstaining from congress. From what the chair of the NUJ Comrade Dauda Ilya revealed in the last congress, the last has not yet been heard about that land even though a large chunk is said to have been recovered from the erring fellows concerned. But for the pressure of the election into the nawoj Presidency which was a cause to be fulfilled, the last congress for the year should have been held to spill the outcome of such challenges on ground. Thank God our our own Comrade Aisha Ibrahim brought the trophy home.

Review of activities of the NUJ Borno Council within 2023

2023 review cannot be concluded without the mention of a recent round table organized by the NUJ to refresh members on the myriad of expectations of members during their practice as professionals. The forum held at Dijuma hotel in Maiduguri attracted a lot of speakers including Professor Danjuma Gambo who went into the nitty gritty of how to walk, talk and every other thing concerning practice of the profession which young people are supposed to know. He spoke on virtually every thing under the sun even our press centre which has been taken over by hoodlums in the name of helping us do what our meagre checkoff dues cannot do over the years. To the meticulous Professor, congress is a strict expectation for the practice for you, if you answer the name of a journalist in this country. You should be able to discipline yourself or be disciplined to fall in line with the Constitution.

The scholar believed that in Borno, practitioners have tested indiscipline a lot and that is why NUJ in Borno State has not been able to mobilize its members in certain areas before now. To him, the advent of the new leadership should change all that if we support the new chairman Comrade Dauda Ilya. And journalists should face the job squarely and stop being afraid of death because signing for the job alone means signing to pay the ultimate sacrifice like soldiers.

Hear his strong remarks : “Most of the reporters here are not doing a thorough job. They will follow the Governor and when there is one delegation from the UN they will follow with all the security at least for protection. But they don’t want to die, and I repeat, they don’t want to leave Maiduguri on their own to go and do investigative reports for fear of death. They are violating the word travel because of the risks involved.

” The real thing to do is to make arrangements with the military, go and cover events on your own and come back. But they will not do it. They have become city people and that is not the kind of culture that we should be promoting in the industry.

” NUJ is not made up of lazy people. In fundamentals of journalism, we teach students and all of you who were in our department in particular in the mass communication programs we teach our students in journalism, to say things as they see it. Journalism has being a very risky profession. It is very risky in the war theatre. We have never put them in the line. Look in our own analog days we were told that journalism is not for the lilly livered humans. So why are you not doing this, because you say “ba insurance”, no life insurance. Let the Union achieve that insurance. That is a union matter “

Helpless, irrelevant and motherless nature of Zonal offices.

While stretching his tentacles into the workings of the Zonal offices, the Prof went on: ” Finally I want to look at the connection between the national, the local branches of the NUJ. I mean, the National, the zonal and then the state chapter and the government. That is where you have the weakest link, each of them looks motherless……general laughter……

“The National secretariat is just hanging up there. It is the state of the union we are talking about. Because nobody challenges them. Iziguzo and Shaibu Liman are my friends. Shaibu Liman is a very senior journalist, I don’t know if he has retired now. A very senior journalist by any standard, very intelligent, extremely intelligent. If you sit with him, you will know that he is intelligent. But the National Secretariat is just standing alone in Abuja.

” They don’t care about result. The constitution made provision for zonal and state structures and chapels. Just as the national does not care about the zone. In fact the zone is so irrelevant, there is nothing happening around them. And so is the relationship between the zone and the State government. Why is the zonal chairman of NUJ not in in this history being made? This is a very big event equivalent to the national delegates congress that should be attended by the zonal chairman. But because they don’t care, they actually do not care, that is it. People want to be elected but they don’t want to work for it.

“Then when it comes to ceremony they wear their vest then come and say “ Na zo nan” where?… Laughter…. . When it comes to sharing formula you see zonal, you see national, you see state, you see chapel. Its a shame. And they are hailing them, if there is no need for zonal arrangements in the constitution, go and amend it. Go to the delegates congress and remove the something. Because it is not relevant.

We expect greater corporation from the correspondents…. GAMBO

“Now for the state and the chapels, from what we have seen from Dauda Ilya and his team, at least during the campaign, they went round the chapels and then after the election they went back again and thanked the chapels. What we should understand is that, from the state up to the National, in political terms, chapels are the original indigenes of NUJ. You don’t understand, maybe you don’t know the powers, the most powerful chapel is the correspondents as it where. And the chapel is like the board level of our under party. That is how the chapel is. But what we have is the other way round, the state will look down upon this chapels. If the chapels wants to conspire against the state chairman, they can even remove him from office, but that is not my worry. My worry is the relationship between the state council and the chapels. It is a thorny issue in all the states of the federation, where the correspondents chapel in particular has assumed supremacy, because they think that they are the intellectual, they are the most senior journalists. I am speaking from experience, I was also a sports correspondent before. Chairman here, now a teacher was also a correspondent. So, I am speaking with authority, I am not saying what I don’t know and by age and experience I am senior to many of you people, so I am qualifed to speak. That relationship still exists. Because you see what has happened is that it is a correspondent that has become a chairman of the NUJ. What we expect is greater cooperation, particularly from correspondents.

” You cannot afford to abandon the ship. But most importantly you must acquire respect, no matter how you feel about yourself. You are only an individual representing one of your relation. You cannot rise above the state council. Constitutionally the state council is the authority and should be respected. I am not saying this for theoretical purposes. No!! That is not what I am saying, practically you must be seen to respect the state council. Whether the political or the professional council, because we have seen historically what has happened here in Borno, we can see in Yobe, in Adamawa and in other places. It is not reference that is in Borno you have dispute between the correspondents chapel and the state council. Its a rare example . And I don’t know what it will take to change it, because it has become almost impossible. Why, because the state government regards the correspondent chapel as about the only chapel. As about the only body to relate to. So, if correspondents are reporting the state very well and positively, the state government will not bother about particularly state media personnel. Because they can always direct them to do as they wish. But times have changed.

“Now you have more private outfits doing broadcasting in particular. And in fact, now that we have a chairman from the correspondents chapel, the politics must change, you see how is it. Initially they were from this side and the others are on the other side. But now, it’s one of their own that is chapel chair and even the vice chairman… General laughter……. “Alhamdullillahi”.

“I want to appeal for the sake of God, this is the last word I want to recommend. I want to appeal, for the sake of journalism. In the name of God, please correspondents should try to make significant contributions. You can use your influence, there is no problem. But when it comes to professional matters please give space to the constitution and the council is the highest level we operate. And whoever is the chairman of the council should be respected. And it should follow the other way round that those of you who are in the state media, please and please cooperate with this excos which is headed by the correspondents.

” Because, journalism, unionism is a two way street. As you are going other people are coming and you need to improve. Anything short of that will always spell disaster with NUJ, I wish you well. I look forward to more productive engagement with the union and I assure you that any time you have any issue that is not beyond human comprehension, we will provide the answer. And I will be there, I will not fear, I will talk, I will act but at least let us not talk and drop the talk now here, no, lets act. Thank you.

NUJ to sponsor the training of at least 30 journalists by the end of 2026

Responding in a vote of thanks, chairman of the NUJ Comrade Dauda Ilya was full of praises for his teachers that lined up to support him and the entire council in the two days program. His words: “I think I must be up standing, because of the caliber of people on the high table. They were all my teachers, they are my mentors, my seniors. Part of the take aways, I had was the statement made, that NUJ needs radical and surgical operations to make progress to the next level. Indeed, the NUJ knows that, and we also know that the task ahead of us is huge.

“For you to gather journalists, about 70 to 80 of them in one location for 2 days, is not an easy task. We all have our engagements yet we are here. But because of the commitment we had, we all listened and refreshed from our scholars.

” Prof sir, you’ve challenged us and we’ve taken the challenge head on. The issue of Investigative publications, by the grace of God, we will see how we can start gathering the informations that you said. By the grace of God before the end of my administration in the next 2 years Insha Allah, we would have documented the history of journalistic experience from members of NUJ in the war theatre.

One of those things that bothered me when I was campaigning and even when I was not campaigning was the issue of professionalism that you mentioned. Imagine a chapel in which for 3 years they were running on care taker management. And what was the challenge? They don’t have enough qualified members. We heard that, yes there were officials or members that do not have the requisite qualification to practice or even represent members in the position there. Yes, we had some elders or senior colleagues that had previous prerequisite qualifications to practice, but they were not interested in coming up to contest. So, those of them who were interested don’t have the requisite qualification to practice. These are problems we met on ground.

Education endowment for members

“And we fail to know the way to come out during time we needed to change it. And that is why, we said we now have an endowment. Education endowment where we train our members, not only training per say but to have a requisite qualification practice. And we said at least every year we have resolved to see that we secure admission for our members free of charge. Buy forms for them free of charge and for you to secure the admission for University we will register you for the first year and then we see your commitment and you are able to perform then we pay, or give you some percentage at least at the diploma level for you to have the basic qualification for practice. We are targeting to train at least 10 journalists from across the chapel for the next 3 years. So, we are targeting 30 journalists by the end of 2026. So that’s why I am also putting the chapel leadership into it so that all of us have a list of your members that are lacking this basic qualification practice. So, that we see how we start this, because the Universities are now back, so they will start recruitment or admission very soon.

” Even before becoming the chairman of NUJ, one of the advices he gave me was training meal assessment. Yes, we know we are not involved in some chapel by sampling members that are very vital intellectually and to also have those that are less. We have come out with the template and we gave to the chapel leader, to do needs training assessment where our members are lacking Where do we need training, well which areas. At the end of it our trainers will train based on priorities of our members and this will be one of the takeaways of our colleagues.

“Let me use this opportunity to thank profoundly Prof Danjuma Gambo for his commitment to NUJ. The discussion started on phone Prof, we have this program, and he said I will come and participate, despite the fact that he was bereaved he lost his sister. But he came back, to see that the prog did not end without his participation. Thank you very much prof for coming and we really appreciate. Likewise, my lecturers here, my second supervisor, we are grateful. I think if we are discussing with our members or we are trying to see that we correct some of the anomalies it would not seem as if we don’t want or we don’t like new faces. This is how the chapel needs to take their actions by trying to stamp discipline among our members and the leadership also.

So Prof. Sharafa, thank you very much for coming, lastly to our senior colleague Dr. Ahmed Ditto also a committed member of NUJ, thank you very much sir for coming. And for our senior sister, Comrade Aisha Ibrahim, our leader in this problem, she will work with us. We know how committed she has been for the progress of the union. And whatever you need as support we are here for you and we will make sure that we support you. So, thank you very much for coming. Our senior colleague Patrick Mark thanks for participating. Since yesterday he has been seated and up to this moment he is still here. We really appreciate you sir. For the local, organizing committee chaired by the vice chairman Abdulsalam, secretary Chiroma Ibrahim Ali, Chairperson nawoj, and many others, thank you very much for the job done. And this shows that any committee that we are prosecuting should take a lead from what, the local organizing committee has done. Because they have done marvelously well in organizing this 2 day training. To our members, thank you very much for coming.
As for our new, colleagues also, who came all the way from Kano, Abuja, Mustapha Mohammed, thank you very much for coming and by the Grace of God we will soon invite you to come and participate in some of our activities. So, thank you very much for coming dear colleagues and I will miss your deliberations because formality came from you like prof said, “ what do you expect from this leadership.”

The year was quite eventful as so many friends of ours stopped over in the centre. One particular one I cannot forget in a hurry is the former CP Abdu Umar now AIG.

I wish to use this opportunity to congratulate the brand new Nawoj National Chairperson Comrade Aisha Ibrahim. I also want to believe that a proper reorganization of the association will take place during her reign with a lot of reach out programs associated with their very existence. Congratulations as we welcome 2024.


Continue Reading


UMTH: Looking at the hub for organizational administrative tasks (1)



UMTH: Looking at the hub for organizational administrative tasks (1)

By: Balami  Lazarus      

Any organization, whether it is public or private, needs to have a department within its system that functions similarly to a computer’s central processing unit. As a result, the Department of Administration at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, which serves as the hub for organizational administrative tasks, comes into focus as we explore the huge concept and ambition of the CMD in turning challenges into opportunities and putting every effort into making employees that comprise the department’s human capital more active in their endeavors through the servantship idea in welding vision to achieving goals. Indeed, as the CMD would always say, the employees are the driving force behind the successes at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH).

The central administration of this medical facility is located in the office of the Director of Administration (DA), who oversees the general administration of this hospital under the leadership of Prof. Ahmed Ahidjo, the CMD. Therefore, UMTH’s general administration lies in the DA’s office, in the engine room, where the work is carried out with a total of about 4,000 employees, both clinical and non-clinical. The collection and simplification of their duties and responsibilities involving the basic collection of like terms is necessary to avoid clashes.

Prof. Ahmed Ahidjo, CMD

In such a large medical tertiary hospital, how can the Department of Administration coordinate its workforce? NEWSng was reliably informed that “the department of administration is structured into the following departments: Human Resource Management, Pension and Gratuity, Manpower Development (Training), Public Relations Services, and Clinical Services, among others, including her sub-units.

These departments and sub-units are under and are all answerable to the Director of Administration (DA), Mr. Idriss Omar.

Speaking with Mr. Idriss Omar, the DA, an experienced and seasoned administrator who runs and keeps the general administration activities functioning, said, “Because of the synergy, good working relationship, and understanding between the CMD, Chairmam Medical Adversary Committee (CMAC), and the entire personnel and my office as DA of this gigantic medical facility as a tertiary hospital, the best in West Africa with about 4,000 employees, we find it easy to face our daily challenges through the synergy of collectiveness.”

Mr. Omar said it is worth mentioning Mallam Baba Mai Ali, the first Director of Administration (1980–1990), who set up and put in place this great Department of Administration of this hospital. The department is therefore headed by the Director of Administration, who is responsible for the effective and smooth functioning of all administrative divisions of the hospital. He is assisted in his duties by duplicity directors, assistant directors, and a number of chief administrative officers and chief executive officers spread across the various units.

Technically, and in consideration of the monograph chart, there is only one substantive director, which is the Director of Administration (DA), in the whole UMTH. “The history of the Department of Administration at UMTH dates back to 1979, when an interim management committee was set up under the then Vice Chancellor of the University of Maiduguri, distinguished former Senator Jibril Aminu.

The first management board was appointed in 1980, and the first ward, the obstetrics ward, was opened to the public. The first patient was admitted on February 18, 1982. Since then, the Department of Administration has been playing vital and crucial administrative roles in the hospital. Mr. Idriss, the DA, further states that “the hospital was officially commissioned on July 23, 1983.

It was established by Act CAP 463 of 1985 for the establishment of university teaching hospitals. The Acts provide for the establishment of a board of management.’

NEWSng was able to see the great achievements achieved by the Department of Administration of this hospital over the years. This department had been involved in various administrative assignments, which it had successfully delivered. “These assignments include, but are not limited to, the preparation and coordination of meetings of the Board of Management, the Top Management Committee, revolving fund committees, and other standing and ad hoc committees.

The department has also played vital roles in recruitment exercises, interviews for internships, and admission of students into the various schools of the hospital. ‘  lt has also posted staff to provide administrative services to all the departments, schools, and centers of the hospital, and there have been almost zero adverse reports from their various stations.’

The DA Mr. Idriss Omar quickly informed NEWSng that renovations, promotions, employment, and trainings for both clinical and non-clinical staff have been facilitated by this department for those who merited it. ‘ A facelift of the entire administrative block with the refurbishment of offices was achieved. “The administration of Prof. Ahmed Ahidjo had ensured promotion for staff as and when due.” He added.


Since the inception of this administration, staff have enjoyed training and retraining in their different endeavors to enable a foreseeable workforce to match the accelerated infrastructure development in the hospital’. Furthermore, staff had been employed in the past four years to replace the retired, dead, and transferred staff in the facility. Dependable sources said that the able leadership of Prof. Ahmed Ahidjo has not failed even once to pay staff salaries, entitlements, and even promotion arrears.

Malam Idriss Omar, DA

New findings reveal that the management pays all fees for staff workshops and trainings, especially those in-service trainings. According to the DA, Mallam Omar, “I most certainly say the administration department has enjoyed cooperation and attention from the present regime of Prof. Ahmed Ahidjo, our CMD.”

Despite the achievements of this department in question, it is facing challenges in terms of office space and office working materials. Due to the increasing number of employees, office space has drastically decreased. Staff are overcrowded, putting pressure on facilities such as conveniences, chairs, and tables. Working materials and tools such as functional computers, printers, A4 papers, photocopy machines, file tags, office files, and others are always in short supply and, in some cases, unavailable. This is also a result of the growing needs facing the hospital, but the CMD and his management team are taking on this huge task in their next move to ensure that as the clinical areas get better, the administrative area also gets better in order to serve the state, region, Nigeria, and indeed, sub-Saharan Africa better.

UMTH: Looking at the hub for organizational administrative tasks (1)

Continue Reading