Fred Itua, Abuja
Abuja is regarded as one of the fastest growing cities in Nigeria. With mass construction of roads and other facilities, Abuja can compete with other major capital cities in the world. Amid these developments, however, the city’s healthcare system is under threat.
Dearth of electricity and water are among the major challenges facing general hospitals in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, investigations by Daily Sun has revealed.
Beyond that, low patronage, poor funding, lack of equipment, staff and security, among others, are among the prevailing challenges in public hospitals. These inadequacies are slowing down the wheels of healthcare delivery in the FCT, specifically in outlying areas like Abaji, Kuje and Kwali councils.
Some of the hospitals worst hit are Abaji General Hospital, Rubochi General Hospital and Kwali General Hospital.
Findings revealed that, in Rubochi General Hospital, serving over 30 communities, acute dearth of water and electricity supply are the biggest obstacles to healthcare in the place.
The hospital, with a 45-bed capacity ward, over the years, has been battling with low patronage from residents in Rubochi and environs.
Consequently, medical personnel deployed by the FCT Administration to work in the there are left to work in an incredibly difficult conditions, limiting their capacity to deliver acceptable medical services to the people.
It was observed that these prevailing challenges in public hospitals in the areas visited were undermining the objectives of their establishment, which is improving the living conditions of the people.
According to the medical director, Rubochi General Hospital, Dr. Ita Edim, the facility, “is greatly affected by non-patronage from the people, thereby rendering the medical personnel idle.”
He decried the seemingly neglected nature of the hospital in terms of electricity and water supply, negatively impacting on working conditions of the place.
In the same vein, the medical director of Abaji General Hospital, Dr. Kizaya Donatus, said, because of electricity problems, the hospital depends almost 90 per cent on generators.
He said other problems were congestion, water scarcity, insecurity, funding and poor welfare.
He equally bemoaned insufficient staff quarters, as available spaces were filled, paucity of funds to sustain free antenatal care for pregnant women and slow pace of construction of the accident and emergency rooms.
On his part, the Agabe of Ugbada (Gwargwarda chiefdom), one of the communities using the Rubochi hospital, Hussaini Agabi mam, recalled that the hospital was shut down for some time, before it was reopened to patients.
He appealed for government’s intervention in the area of power supply and provision of drugs to the hospital, and commended the management and staff of the Rubochi hospital for their commitment to duty, despite the prevailing challenges facing them.
On a visit to the palace of the Ona of Abaji, HRH Adamu Baba Yunusa, he appealed to government to come to the aid of hospitals in rural areas.
Yunusa, who is the chairman of FCT Council of Chiefs, said the hospitals were in dire need of expansion of facilities as well as new equipment to meet increasing needs of the people in the area and environs.
The monarch equally appealed for a Federal Medical Centre to be sited in Abaji, which was recording high pressure from within and outside the area, given its proximity to neighbouring FCT communities, in order to ensure improved healthcare services.
However, mandate secretary for FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat, Adamu Bappah, has drummed up support for measures to improve the operating conditions of hospitals, especially those in the rural areas.
Bappah spoke while on an inspection visit to health facilities in the FCT, following his redeployment from Area Council Services Secretariat to HHSS, to familiarise himself with the challenges of the health facilities, in order to improve the quality of their services.
In continuation of familiarisation and inspection of hospitals in the FCT, the secretary will in the next few weeks intensify efforts to ensure effective healthcare delivery in the FCT.
Throughout the tour, the HHSS entourage paid homeage on the monarchs of localities where the general hospitals were situated to seek their support and encouragement for the healthcare facilities in the area.