Professor Adewale Musa-Olomu is the Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta. In this interview with Laide Raheem, he speaks about his two-year stewardship at the hospital and his future plans for the hospital.
It has been two years that you have been in the saddle. How has it been?
It has been very challenging, but, we thank God that with the help of Almighty God, we have been able to tackle a lot of the problems that we met on ground that were militating against rendering adequate and perfect service in this hospital.
When we came on board, it was like we met a dead hospital. It took us about two weeks to go round all the offices and departments so as to identify the problem and to offer solutions to some of these problems. Right from causalities emergency unit, it did not have enough beds, oxygen, couches and so on. We try as much as possible to ensure that our emergency unit today is rendering adequate services.
We used to return patients before, but we don’t do that again because we have added nothing less than 40 beds to our causality unit. We have more than enough couches, we have ambulances and I can say our emergency unit is up to standard now.
In our Radiology Department, we will soon get a CT Scan. Our X-Ray machine is fully working now and we are still expecting another one in the next two weeks; both digital and analogue. We have also digitalised the analogue ones and they perform quite a number of functions. We have up-to-date ultra-sound machine,
In ophthalmology, we have state-of-the-art ophthalmology equipment that there is no ophthalmological examination that you want to do in any part of the world that cannot be done here. And we thank God because we are still bringing more equipment.
When I came in, we met just one suite of our theatre working. Today I can boast that about five suites are working out of eight. The remaining three are for cadio-thoracic and neuro surgeries and we are keeping that too. It is like we are up to date and all these things were not there when we came on board. Within the next two months, our entire eight-theater suite would become solid.
In terms of fellowship training, it has been very difficult for us to train residents very well here, but, we thank God that we have been able to get full accreditation for the department of medicine, pediatrics and anaesthesia. We are looking very forward to accrediting surgery department, ophthalmology, radiology and community medicine. So, the four will follow suit and with the hope that on or before the end of this year, all those four specialities too would be fully accredited.
Quite a number of our patients who sustain injuries from road accidents such as head injuries, chest injuries, bones and abdomen, can now be attended to by competent surgeons that can tackle all these problems, particularly, with the establishment of Cardio Thoracic Department.
We have also selected some staff that would be going to India and Ghana to train so that they can work with our new open heart surgeon coming from Ghana. Just about two weeks ago, neuro surgeons removed a tumor from somebody’s brain. It took them about 15 hours to do that and they did that in this hospital and that has never happened before.
How far with your proposal for the establishment of University of Medical Sciences, Abeokuta?
We wanted to turn this place into a teaching hospital, and to have that we must be affiliated to a university. We had tried University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, but it didn’t work. We even tried Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, but they told us that the school is purely for agriculture and if we attach anything like medicines, it would probably derail their ambition.
But we have been able to acquire 179 hectares of land. I have been able to go to about five countries and we have got investors with about $750 million investment. They have come here and saw the land and any moment from now, we would be able to start some construction on that land.
We are working on the master plan with the hope that in the next two weeks, it will be ready. Once that is ready, we will bring in the investors and we will hand over the land to them. Land is what we are going to contribute they are going to contribute their money we will run this together.
We have established FMC Business Consult registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission. We will be starting as a private university and we hope that very soon the federal government would be ready to take it from us.
FMC has opened an annex in Joga-Orile in Yewa North local government, what informed the annex?
I promised to take medical service to the grassroots and when we are talking about the grassroots, we mean people living in the rural area. We have been unfair to these people, because these are the people that produce the food that we eat in the urban areas.
Definitely, we have to take care of their health, otherwise, there would be disaster and we will not have enough food to eat. And we believe that state government alone cannot cope with the rendering of services in all the primary health centres. We are not only in Joga, we also in Obafemi-Owode, people of Ayetoro have also written us. We also went to the National Blood Bank in Iberekodo, Abeokuta, we are going partner that too.
What can you proffer as solution to the issue of brain drain and the underfunding of the health sector?
I was shocked when I got to Indian Embassy, it was like a health facility, I saw quite a lot of patients from this country trying to get visas to go and get treatment in India it is terribly bad. What I think the Federal Government can do is to take over the health sector totally.
They should ensure that they adequately fund health sector and what I mean by adequate funding is not only throwing money into the teaching hospital, or federal medical centres. When you come out as doctor from medical school, they should still be able to have some responsibility on you in terms of knowing what you want to do.
If they take over the post-graduate training, monitor individual doctors, they would see that government is showing some interest in their future. You can imagine that a lot of our people that we train in this country as neuro surgeons, I employed two and I did not see them again
They came to me that the training is not enough that they needed to use their money to look for spaces in UK, US and India to go and perfect their training. If the Federal Government can be sponsoring those kinds of people, they will come back and help the country instead of staying over there.
I cannot use my money to perfect my training and you will now expect me to come to the country and be waiting for salary. I will prefer where my services would be more appreciated and try and get more money.
The government should also ensure that there is mass training of post-graduate doctors; it is not something that they should restrict. Because, teaching hospitals are restricting the number of post-graduate doctors they want to take based on their budget.
If there is enough funding and you make it mandatory, people would be very happy and they would stay to render the service. When they do the mass training, they should post them to everywhere including the rural centres where the environment has the basic needs like good roads, electricity, among others, the doctors would be ready to stay.
Those who want to be attached to the university system, let them be recognized, let them stay at their rural centre they would be rendering their services and be doing their researches also as university lecturers.
You can send most medical students to go and meet these people. And when they write their papers, recognise their papers for promotion and other benefits so that people will not be saying that until you are in the urban area, that is when they will recognise you.