Imo State University Teaching Hospital – An Abandoned Project?
Activities in Imo State University Teaching Hospital(IMSUTH),recently christened Evan Enwerem University Teaching Hospital(EEUTH),Orlu is gradually coming to a standstill, thanks to the gross negligence and the obvious lackadaisical attitude of the Ohakim-led administration towards the establishment of needed structures, completion of the already existing ones, caring properly for the staff and so on. The hospital,together with the medical college and the nursing department of the state’s university are in a comatose situation. The comatoseness has become so bad that urgent intervention is needed to avoid possible death.
Recently, we heard that the hospital is open and running while it was placed under lock and key. This opened a new vista into the plight of the citizens of the state whose health and general interest should be the leadership’s primary concern and assignment. It also questioned the authenticity of the information delivered to the poor masses. It dawned on us that there is a high level of prevarication in the administration and that we been deceived for a very long time.Perhaps, even the things we were told and made to believe previously, were well constructed lies- the more we looked, the less we saw. Who is deceiving who in this state? It is like the people we presumptively voted into power are cheating on us and claiming to still be our friends.
The worst of it all was the impression that even ‘free surgery’ is going on in the long abandoned ‘poultry’, which was the same word allegedly used to described the hospital by the ‘ruler’ of the state. It is quite appalling and pity-worthy! A lot of water has actually passed under the bridge in the state but I am more concerned about the Teaching Hospital in Orlu and the students, whose lives are being wasted and destinies unnecessarily delayed. The students have become victims of the fight between the state’s leadership and the unhappy health workers in the hospital.
A regular visitor to the teaching hospital at Orlu will agree with me that it is presently a shadow of its traumatized self, with many abandoned projects that are seriously begging for attention; the hospital is gradually turning into a forest, providing niches for all sorts of wild animals. It is true that there are many hospitals in the state but we can only boast of this one and only ‘teaching’ hospital which gives the state the needed platform, like other states, to train and produce qualified medical doctors and nurses that can carter for the health needs of the people of the state and neighbouring states. In a teaching hospital like ours, you will find specialists and experts that have skills to tackle even difficult, life-threatening health cases, thus sparing Imo citizens both the large financial involvements and stress of seeking help from neighbouring states or even abroad.
As if there is an existing supremacy tussle between the previous and present governments, some of the costly machines(like MRI and CT Scan) bought by the past administration and would have been a dependable source of income for the state, has been abandoned in their containers to rust and be destroyed under harsh weather. Yet we complain that we don’t have money and cannot pay our workers. No one knows the reason(s) behind the continuous abandonment, but it may not be far from a political matter. There seems to be a sort of political vendetta against the other political zones that are not in power- I stand to be corrected.The innocent masses are forced to suffer it directly or indirectly. The state’s House of Assembly and other influential individuals in the state have refused to make any reasonable effort towards changing the status quo.
Where is the millions of naira that was purportedly released for the standardization of the university’s nursing school, as a step towards attracting a possible accreditation of the department by the National Council concerned?We only noticed little and negligible work going on there, the greater work being done on the internet and our money-loving media houses. In fact, it is an already existing building that is being completed and refurbished at the moment. We’re expecting others though. Where went the money that was released? Or was it released at all? Probably, it found its way into some special pockets as usual. What happened to the money meant for infrastructures that will alleviate people’s sufferings is what I don’t know.
The College of Medicine of the state’s university got her full accreditation since 2008, but have managed to graduate only two sets of medical doctors. The traffic that has been in existence even before we got it has been worsened, as against its reduction or even complete eradication; we’re just abusing the privilege we have that others don’t have. Students are invariably undergoing adult education, getting very old and sometimes getting married in school, while their counterparts elsewhere graduate at record time.
Students living in the school hostel have been battling water scarcity since the hospital was locked, the cleaners of their hostel have stopped work after failing to get their employer to pay them their accumulated salaries.
Even power supply is erratic and not available for the students to read with. The generator that used to serve as an alternative has not been in use for a very long time. Everything seems to have gone wrong with even the administration of the college. Workers show up for work only when they want and Alot has actually gone wrong in the hospital that almost all students are angry with the whole thing.
A six year course is now studied for up to eleven years and no one cares. The worst of it all is that the students are expected to pay the fees of these wasted years. They are also expected to pay the newly inflated school fees and carter for their house rents, and other necessities of life.
People, who are privileged and opportuned to travel abroad for their studies have refused to remain here, because no one knows when all these will end. Uncertainty of the future or end of ones time of study has gripped every student in Imo’s teaching hospital. We have made nigerians to develop apathy for anything nigerian.
Ukraine has suddenly become a hot-cake for those who desire to study medicine and other related courses abroad. Students can afford to step down or even start afresh, just because they know that once they start, there is no form of delay. Families can afford to sell precious belongings in their quest to sponsor their relatives.
Though the rate at which people move to these foreign schools are ever increasing, questioning the existing standard of education there, nigerians keep moving to them unperturbed. Due to the decay in our own educational sector, people prefer having a certificate from even nearby Ghana, not to talk of one from Ukraine, that has coveted the opportunity from nigerians to improve their economy.
Why should we not produce half-baked doctors after all the deprivations? We deserve not just apologies but quick actions from our leaders, who had all they needed during their time.
Apart from the accreditation that is under serious threat, the good hands heading various departments are gradually leaving for places with greener pastures, without any replacement. Lets learn from the woes of our neighbouring schools and act fast.
The student’s body, Imo State University Medical Students Association has not helped matters. The association has actually been impotent for some years, denying students the one large voice that speaks for them in times to troubles.
The leadership that has come and gone showed no sign of initiating any meaningful change. They were merely ceremonial, only carrying about titles with gross inactivity. Even the things they may claim they did are grossly insignificant. The body was unnecessarily friendly with the college’s adminitration, resisting nothing even when necessary.Maybe, they are afraid of victimization.
Exams are not written at the proper time. At least, students write their 2nd MB exam in their 5th year, instead of the 3rd year, forcing them to waste two years just for the pre-clinical classes. As time goes, there could be more years to be spent.
We need to pause and carefully pinpoint the problems plaguing our one and only teaching hospital and seek ways of redress, if we are still interested in its existence and functional soundness. The mindset of those in the helm of affairs in the state towards the hospital, that has not helped its growth should be dropped. The fierce competition between the zones of the states and its attendant ‘wars’ should be left. Whether the hospital is in Orlu or Owerri or even Okigwe, it still belongs to Imo.
Lets avoid more preventable deaths and unwarranted delay of destinies stemming from this abandonment. Posterity may not forgive us if we fail to do so. Despite these things, our leaders still expect us to put them back into the positions they handled with reckless abandon, gross insensitivity and inactivity towards their primary assignment. Just because whatsoever goes around has a way of coming around, let the government of Imo State arise and lift the hospital from collapse and at the same time eradicating the bad image it has acquired, at the long run, saving it the shame of becoming the much talked about ‘poultry farm’.
By Nkemjika Okoye