Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
To appreciate and recognise their contributions, the Iyi-Enu Mission Hospital established by Church Missionary Society (CMS), now Anglican Communion, in 1907 at Ogidi in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State recently honoured the former Secretary-General of Commonwealth of Nations, Chief Emeka Anyaoku and a philanthropist and business mogul Prince Arthur Eze.
The duo were given outstanding contributions award alongside Mr. Onyekachi Onubogu, Chief Ojimba Christopher Chibiko, Sir. Edward Dike Ogugua Ibemesi, Sir (Dr) Chike Chukwudi Onyejekwe as well as Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company during 110 years Anniversary and launching of an ultra-modern magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan machine of the hospital held recently.
Other awards were Post Humous awards given to Mrs. Christiana Virginia Koripamo and late Rev. Canon Johnny Amaizu while the excellent service award went to Miss ELizabeth Marjorie Edmunds and Dr. Anne Philips.
While declaring the ceremony open, the Bishop on the Niger Rt. Rev. Dr. Owen Nwokolo said that the church of God is meant to preach and to heal which the lord Jesus Christ exemplified during his ministry on earth where he preached the words of God and healed the sick.
He said that in 2 Timothy chapter 4, Paul said: “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:1 – 4:5 ESV)
Nwokolo said that the Luke was a physician and prayed God that the vision of establishing would be achieved by ensuring that those who seek medical services at the hospital would receive their healing.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Hospital Administrator Venerable Chris Amaku said that the seed of the hospital was was sown by the CMS medical mission from England in 1890 led by Rev. Henry Dobinson while the Iyi-Enu mission hospital of today started as a dispensary in a somewhat dilapidated mud building in the old CMS compound at Ozalla road Onitsha built by first bishop of the Niger Territory, the art. Rev. Samuel Ajayi Crowther.
He said the hospital came to the present location at Inyi-Enu in 1907 shortly before before the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914 while the foundation stone of Robinson dispensary unit of the hospital was laid by the first Governor General of
Nigeria Sir Fredrick Lord Lugard in 1913, noting that the hospital is older than Nigeria.
Ven. Amaku said: “We are collaborative efforts and sacrifices of millions of people who through diverse ways have contributed to make the mission hospital outstanding in healthcare delivery since inception.
“Today, Iyi-Enu hospital can be best described as multi-specialty facility that provides primary, secondary, and tertiary health care services. The hospital is equipped with modern digital/automated medical equipment as against analog equipment of yesterday. Today some of the minimal invasive (Laparoscopic) surgeries mostly done overseas are offered in this hospital including Hip and Knee replacement. Today tow new paramedical schools namely; School of Medical Laboratory Technicians and School of Dental Health Technicians have been added to the school of Nursing and Midwifery that was established in 1930.”
The Governor of the state Chief Willie Obiano represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Prof Solo Chukwudebelu commended the hospital for attaining the height being the first hospital in this part of the country, saying that government was determined and has commenced the renovation and equipping of general hospitals in the state and would extend same to the mission hospitals in the state for the provision of quality health services to the citizens of the state.
He said that the state government alone cannot provide needed services to the people, saying that it has been partnering with individuals and mission to provide essential service in the ears of health and other essential amenities to the people, saying that the past administration started finding mission hospitals which the present administration continued to ensure the adequate health facilities were provided to the hospitals.
Prof. Chukwudebelu said that with proper funding and provision of health facilities to the mission hospitals like Iyi-Enu the young medical doctors from hue state that are abroad will return home to work in the place due to the state-of-art equipment in the hospital which he said will reduce oversea medical trip by the people.
He said that the governor has constituted State health insurance scheme being funded by the state government with N200 million, saying that Inyi-Enu hospital was designated for the scheme due to its quality and facilities.
In his speech, the former Secretary to the Commonwealth, Chief Anyaoku quoted the former minister of health Prof. Chukwu to said that Nigeria loses about N175 billion naira on medical tourism annually, a figure he said that is more than 50per cent of the federal government’s proposal for the health sector in the 2018 budget.
He lamented that “despite Federal Government’s endorsement of the World Health Organization’s (WHO), recommendation, that 13 percent of the national budget and the African Union’s Abuja Declaration in 2001, that 15 percent of the national budget should be allocated to the health sector, only a paltry sum of between 3.4 per cent and 5.6 per cent is allocated.
“The result of this ridiculously low budgetary allocation to the health sector over the years, combined with what is often referred to as “the Nigerian factor”, has been that the nation is assailed with ill-equipped hospitals that have very low grade facilities, most of our hospitals have been reduced to mere consulting clinics.
“Recently we had a big shock to the national psyche that even the Aso Rock Clinic that attends to the nation’s highest political leaders and their families was completely lacking in basic facilities like drugs and even syringes, and that confirms Bill Gates criticism of the country that it spends relatively far too little on the development of its human capital, in heath sector alongside education sector as the most neglected.”
Chief Anyaoku noted that Bill Gates testimonial for Nigeria health sector is not at all comforting; he recalled that between 1960s and 1970s, the Commonwealth ranked Nigeria 4th in the hierarchy of health sector efficiency countries.
“In fact, at that time, ours was a country that itself was attracting medical tourism on account of the quality of the services offered by the University Teaching Hospital Ibadan.”
Chairman, Organizing Committee of the anniversary, Chinedu Fidel Nwankwo said that the theme of the anniversary was “Iyi-Enu Mission Hospital, yesterday, today and tomorrow”which he said was handled by Chief Anyaoku who was born in the hospital.
He said that the anniversary witnessed events apart from fund raising for Ultra modern MRI scanner, inauguration of the Iyi-Enu Ambassadors Forum for all those born in the hospital, re-inauguration of the Iyi-Enu Alumni for all those trained in the hospital and presentation of awards to a select few, with more to come subsequently.
The event attracted the Deputy Senate President Chief Ike Ekweremadu, former Minister of Health Dr. Tim Menakaya, former Minister of Aviation Chief Osita Chidioka who was the chairman of the ceremony, Obi of Onitsha Igwe Afred Achebe, Traditional ruler of Ogidi kingdom Igwe Alex Onyido and member represenating Idemili North and South at House Reps Obinna Chidioka as well as clergies.