From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Monday, June 7, 2021, would remain memorable in the lives of the people of Rumuomasi community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
It was a day the natives and residents of the place saw the fruition and commissioning of the Mother and Child Hospital, courtesy of the Nyesom Wike-led government.
The elated women and youths rolled out the drums as a sign of appreciation for the good work of the Wike administration. The Rumuomasi women meeting and Egelege Dance group entertained the visitors with their cultural displays.
Also, to demonstrate their love, the governor and his entourage were received with seven canon gun salute to an event graced by an array of traditional rulers, medical practitioners and many other dignitaries.
One of the natives told Daily Sun that the gunshots showed the arrival of a highly respected leader and visitor to the community. It is also repeated when the visitor is leaving.
Perhaps, what might have made the Rumuomasi people to feel highly elated was the present government’s intervention after the previous administration had failed to make impact on the project.
The Mother and Child Hospital is one of the signature projects of Governor Wike to make lives of Nigerians meaningful. The 132-bed hospital is a bold attempt by the governor in boosting the infant and maternal health in the South-South zone.
Among the facilities in the hospital are 50 delivery rooms, six modular operating theatres, invitro fertilization equipment, fluoroscopic equipment and mamography equipment.
Governor Wike, during the inauguration, said his administration has good intention for Rivers people, particularly Rumuomasi community.
He said the hospital was built for their good, particularly to improve the health conditions of the mothers and children.
He said: “We are here for the good of our people, particularly the good of Rumuomasi people. This is government providing for our mothers and our children to improve on their healthcare”.
The governor said it is sad that medical doctors have shown less capacity in managing most health facility in the country.
He said such medical officers are appointed as heads of those facilities, and they collect money for services that they render, but are still unable to maintain the equipment. The governor said worst still, the doctors leave the vicinity unkempt.
He challenged medical doctors to be more responsible in maintaining the public healthcare facility and not allow the investment to come to waste.
Wike added: “Go to our teaching hospitals, our clinics and the rest. Why is it that we cannot keep it to standard? Every equipment you need here is here. Anything you need for Mother and Child Hospital is here.
“But, after two or three months, everything is broken down. Why? Must we bring outsiders to run a place like this? We have experts here; why can’t we take it the way it is supposed to be?
“The money we would be collecting from our mothers for the children, what are you going to do with it? Is it for our private pockets?”
Wike charged natives not to allow the facilities to waste, and urged them to engage themselves and maintain the aesthetic nature of the hospital.
“I am happy, Rumuomasi, all of you should be together for the future and development of this place (hospital). You can form a team that would be cleaning this place. You can do that. That is the essence of empowerment.
“Find something that will help us and help our youths. I am here to protect you; I am here to support you. So, all this fight is not necessary. I want all of you to come together, form yourselves how to be cleaning this hospital”.
Also, the state governor charged the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Princewill Chike, to ensure facilities at the hospital do not waste. He stressed that the state government invested much money in building and equipping the Mother and Child Hospital.
Also, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, commended Governor Wike for his vision and achievement in the health sector. He emphasized that it shows the governor’s determination and interest to add value to the health sector.
Ehanire noted that the hospital was dedicated to women and children, saying the equipment were “definitely another super-specialty work”.
He said: “I want to urge you to do a good job. I want to urge you to set up a team of experts because building this hospital is what the governor has taken upon himself.
“Perhaps, he would take upon himself providing sound human resource for health; you have a sound infrastructure. And if you have sound attitude, sound governance, sound maintenance, good”.
The minister charged women: “I want to turn my attention to women whom this project is intended for. I cannot add the children. It is women and children hospital. But, I will speak to the women who are mothers of the children.
“Take this hospital as your own. This is yours. You defend it, you protect it. If you see somebody taking something outside, it is up to you to query it. It is your business.
“If you see somebody littering it, stop that person to pick it up. Take ownership of this place and do not expect it belongs to somebody else. It is hospital for women and children. I want to say it again you should take ownership of the hospital.
“I am happy for the quality level. I have not seen it anywhere else. This hospital is a very important investment in the health sector”.
President of Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Prof. Innocent Ujah, thanked Governor Wike for his commitment in the health sector. He said women and children do not have voice to speak for them, noting that it is the medical association that is their voice.
Prof. Ujah called for training and retraining of all cadres of medical professionals because the facilities are state-of-the-art.
The NMA president advised that the edifice should not be seen as dumping ground. He said the stakeholders should ensure the usefulness is felt, not only by Rivers residents, but people from other places.
He said politics should not be played with the health sector, assuring that adequate health services would be provided at the Mother and Child Hospital.
Some Rumuomasi natives and people from neighbouring communities, at the event expressed joy that such a specialist hospital could be brought to doorstep.
One of the royal fathers at the event, King Chidi Odum (JP), Ogwugwu Ohna 1 and paramount ruler of Oginigba Kingdom, in Obio/Akpor LGA, said the governor knew and felt the pulse of “commoners”, by ensuring the hospital came to be.
King Odum said his concern is to see to the maintenance of the hospital, especially with professional medical personnel employed.
According to him, “the governor has tried. The governor actually looked into the needs of the commoners, which every one of us has to appreciate.
“This edifice is of modern standard. We are all praying let there be qualified medical personnel to keep the hospital running”.
One of the Rumuomasi women, Mrs. Margaret Chinda, expressed delight in the citing of the hospital in their community. She expressed optimism it would help address maternal health challenge in their area , in particular.
She said: “At least, we have a big hospital close to us. In fact, we will be telling other women to come here. All of us here are very happy. We never knew our governor has such a big plan for us and our children. God will bless him immensely for caring for us”.