The showdown between the management of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) led by the Chief Medical Director (CMD), prof. Michael Ibadin, and doctors in the hospital has taken a turn for the worse as resident doctors in the hospital has written a passionate appeal to patients in the hospital informing them that the management of the hospital is making it nearly impossible for them to get productive health care services they may require.
The latest development was revealed by several patients who got a letter from the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) UBTH chapter seeking for their understanding for the almost non-existent services going on in the hospital.
A patient, Mrs. Odion Osayande, who came from Kwale in Delta State, told newsmen that she got to the hospital on Wednesday, April 12, for her consultation with a doctor in the Gynaecology department only to be served a letter informing her of the circumstances prevailing in the hospital.
“I came from Kwale to see my doctor in the Gynaecology department and noticed that patients were not being attended to. I had to make inquiries from the nurses and staff present only to be told that doctors in the hospital have not being paid and the equipment in the hospital are not working. On the last two occasions I visited for my sessions, I have always been asked to go and do my ultrasound in a facility near Ugbowo which is a distance from the hospital because the Ultrasound machine at UBTH is not working and at the facility near Ugbowo they are always looking at the mobile ultrasound machine cost to buy new equipment, which I think is great.” she said.
The massive infrastructural decay in the once highly esteemed University of Benin Teaching Hospital Benin city Edo state which was hitherto regarded as the citadel of health care, training and research is now a shadow of itself.
Not only is the Ultrasound machine at the hospital not working, the Stem cell transplant centre in the hospital which was established with the intention of bringing smiles to the families with sickle cell patients as patients with sickle cell has dilapidated to rots and rust.
The situation is not different in the department of Radiotherapy as the radiotherapy machine which the government of Nigeria spent fortune to alleviate the conditions of many patients from several states no longer functions leading to patients to referred far and wide for such care.
The Accident and Emergency department of the hospital which was initially world class to carter for Nigerians especially travelling ones Benin where it is located been a transit town is currently operating below a standard primary health care centre.
For specialists in emergency care they are available in the A and E though poorly catered for by the hospital management but they hardly have what to work with, glucometers are not present to check sugar level, instruments to measure blood pressure are faulty and the pharmacy lacks drugs and intravenous fluids. Patients and their relatives have to cross the road to get drugs and hospital consumables. Materials for advanced care is a no go area leading to the loss of several lives lost on a daily basis.
A copy of the letter dated April 10, 2017 with reference ARD/UBTH/SEC/017/027, with the title, Passionate plea for understanding and signed by the association’s president, Dr. Eustace Oseghale and the Secretary General, Dr. Osagie Emeke, read in part:
“We write to bring to your notice the 21-day Ultimatum served on the hospital management which elapses on Tuesday April18, 2017,” listed the demands of the doctors from management as ,” improvement in facilities available for patient care; provision of drugs, consumables and materials for patient care; employment of more doctors as the current number cannot provide adequate care and ensuring the adequate welfare of staff of the hospital.”
The doctors indicated in the letter that they have given management a 21-day Ultimatum following which they can no longer guarantee industrial harmony, appealed to patients and the public to prevail on the management to do the needful and prevent a full blown industrial action.
The ARD president, Dr. Oseghale said that it was, “It is a high time the general public and well-meaning Nigerians help the doctors in stopping the rot and decay in UBTH, the management should be called to order so the families with sicklers can smile, so the cancer patient does not die, so the accident victims will survive and the radiotherapy, X-ray machines and ultrasound equipment work in order for Nigerians will reduce the cost it spends on medical tourism.” He said.
This is coming following the declaration of a state of emergency UBTH by resident doctors and an ultimatum given to the hospital management by the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) at the hospital last week.