Etinan General Hospital: An Example of Udom’s Midas Touch in Healthcare Delivery
By Uwemedimoh Umanah
It was Mother Theresa of Calcutta who said: ‘ let us touch the dying, the poor, the unwanted according to the grace we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to the good works’.
Some days ago, I paid a visit to General Hospital Etinan. I must say that what I saw was a testimony that the Akwa Ibom Government, under Governor Udom Emmanuel has the grace to touch the poor, the dying and the needy, through a deliberate health sector revolution.
During his 2015 electioneering campaigns, the Governor made Wealth Creation a cardinal agendum of his 5- Point Agenda. He noted that it’s only a healthy population that can be wealthy and employed. In his opinion, the optimum population (comprising of those in the productive age) should be given the enablements to thrive, hence his health sector reforms which has monumental implications as seen in the Etinan General Hospital.
The ambience of the hospital, characterized by a natural ecosystem and architectural landscape were psychologically relieving. The Medical Superintendent of the Hospital, a Europe trained O&G Consultant, Dr Essiet Ime was right on ground to give my crew insights into the ongoing revolution in the health sector of the state with specific reference to the hospital.
I must say without any fear of contradiction that the hospital is one of the most equipped secondary health facilities in Nigeria.
This submission is premised on a juxtapositional assessment of the decaying state of public hospitals in Nigeria versus the state -of -the arts facilities and numerous qualified personnel at the disposal of Etinan General Hospital.
I personally witnessed a new culture and consciousness of dynamism in the management of medical emergencies. From the manner doctors conducted caesarean session in the theaters, the number of personnel in all the wards and departments to the sophisticated equipments, tells a story of quantum leap and a glorious dawn.
My discussion with Dr Essiet Ime was revealing and informative. He expressed appreciation to the Akwa Ibom State government for ensuring that the Hospital ranks among the best public hospitals in the country. “Etinan Hospital was a forgotten place. The governor decided to visit some months after his swearing in, and the memorable visit has given birth to the massive turnaround you are seeing today”, he said.
As an eye -witness who spoke with beneficiaries of government’s magnanimous health policies and programs, I must say that one aspect of the hospital worthy of note is that it’s the bastion of the free medical services for pregnant women (undergoing ante natal care), children under the age of 5 and the the aged 65years and above.
This makes it the more imperative because rural women, according to the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Kimoon, are the backbone of the sustainable livelihood and provide food security for their families and communities.
Mrs Iquo Essien who was undergoing antenatal care said that she has been doing that free of charge in the hospital. “We are not charged any amount of money during checkups and sometimes, drugs are given to pregnant women by nurses free…”, she said.
The Pharmaceutical Department of the hospital cannot go unnoticed. There, I met over 5 pharmacists and a pharmacologist on call who were were busy with their daily routines. Drug shelves are well stocked while the Head of Unit was on ground to supervise his team, in a manner that depicted ‘shared responsibility’.
Can words alone describe the numbers of lives being saved by the hospital on a daily basis following Governor Udom Emmanuel’s intervention? Can a mere ‘thank you’ convey the reward of a man who has saved many lives by putting up this life- touching project?
The Medical Superintendent, Dr Essiet Ime could not be conceal his enthusiasm by lavishing accolades on the Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel. In his words, “mere words cannot appreciate the benevolence of His Excellency, the Governor. I have worked for several years but this is the first time I’m really touched by an intervention by a government in a medical facility…therefore the management and staff of the hospital also rely on the efficacy of devotion session conducted every friday morning to give thanks to God for using Governor to upgrade the Etinan General Hospital”.
To this end, it’s pertinent to address the mendacious falsehood peddled by sponsored agents of the opposition APC in the state that the hospital was not built by him and that he doesn’t have a signature project. Governor Udom Emmanuel is not jostling for anyone’s attention in this regard. Udom’s signature project is ‘the Akwa Ibom people’- capable of engendering sustainable livelihood in the state, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
If these agents of doom have the best interest of the state and its people at heart, they should be thankful to the Governor whom God is using to save lives in the state through his proactive engagement in the healthcare delivery system of the state.
Let me end this brief ‘excursion’ with the words of Dalai Lama, the 14th Monk of the Gelug School, “love and compassion are necessities not luxury. Without them, humanity cannot survive”.
Governor Udom Emmanuel is an exemplification of love and compassion for Akwa Ibom people. It’s only a person in his genre that is capable of holding the people at heart.
The 2019 gubernatorial elections therefore would be a choice between light and darkness, between prosperity and doom and above all, between moving forward or moving backwards!
Udom is represents light, prosperity and advancement… Akwa Ibomites cannot bargain for the lesser ONE.