Linus Oota, Lafia
Since his appointment as the Chief Medical Director, Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia, Nasarawa state by the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Umar Tanko Al-Makura, Dr Ikrama Hassan has raised the bar of healthcare delivery in the state through his expertise, wealth of experience, vitality and determination.
In this interview with our Correspondent, he gives insight into what he has been doing since coming on board and expectations for the future.
The most critical strength of any hospital is the quality and quantum of its residency training program because it is an important strategy for building the next generation of clinicians. What improvement measures are you taking to ensure this in DASH, Lafia
It is true, the residency training is a very important component of a hospital especially a hospital like this that is design to be a tertiary one and all the efforts we are making to see that its truly becomes one. There are different components to what we do here; sick people come and they get treated.
But apart from that, we also do training, nursing students before they become nurses do part of their training here, people in the lab also do part of their training as well as pharmacists, we are trying to also start training doctors. That one is elaborate and comprehensive. The essence of this training is to provide critical mass of health manpower, for us and other hospitals in the state, doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists.
Apart from providing service, the training process itself strengthen health care delivery, it improves the quality of health care services in a hospital.
One of the major problems we have being having is turnover of staff in the hospital, doctors will come and spend one or two years and them they leave, reason being that there is no upward mobility for them, when you come as a fresh doctor with just MBBS, you will want to become a consultant naturally, so you want to work in a center where there is a training program so that as you are working, you are progressing to become a consultant, but if you are working in a center where there is no training, you don’t go anywhere, so when they come here, despite the fact that our salary is attractive, after some time, you are not making any progress and they leave after a year or two.
Already, we have gotten about 5 different accreditation, they includes family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery and then internal medicine and once we get all of them, we will start training our doctors here.
Is there any plan soon by the hospital to start conducting in-vitro fertilization (IVF) as well as kidney transplant and dialysis?
Presently, we are already doing dialysis, we have started it for a very long time, it is one of the oldest unit here in this hospital, we also have a consultant here that deals with kidney problem and we are trying to equip him to utilised him maximally and we offer services for all sort of kidney problems.
At the moment, we don’t do IVF but we have a proposal for us to start doing it sometime in the future, because it is a specialise area, we want to start training our staffs on it, it is not just about getting the machine, you need to train your own staffs about it.
The general perception is that DASH is full of cases that should be treated at the primary healthcare centers. How true is this anomaly?
Yes, that is very true, majority of the cases that we treat here are actually suppose to be treated at the primary healthcare, and it is historical. Some years ago, our primary healthcare systems were down, so people had lost hope but the government have revive it and they are functioning very well, we are creating awareness that our people should patronised our primary health care as they are functioning very well now.
Do you have facilities in the hospital to effectively take care of persons living with HIV/AIDS, Diabetes and malnutrition children?
This hospital is one of the prominent centers when it comes to HIV/AIDS management. We also have a consultant for diabetes here and we handle it very well. For malnutrition which is mostly with children, we have four consultants and several many young doctors.
There are insinuations that DASH morgue lacks personnel and equipment to effectively treat corpses under its custody
It is not true, we have enough personnel, when we say preservation of dead bodies, the misunderstanding is that people have it in mind that the only way to preserve is to put it in a fridge, but that is not true, it is not the only way to preserve dead bodies, you can preserve in fridge and with chemicals.
If you put corpses in fridge, you have to guaranteed 24 hours power supply, if not, it will spoil and in running generator to preserve corpses for too long attract a lot of cost. So what we do, not just DASH, almost across Nigeria, we use chemicals to preserve corpses, which is as good as that preservation for fridge but in chemicals, you don’t need fridge and it can preserve the body for years, so that is what we do, it is called dry preservation.
Is the hospital in partnership with any foreign hospital and what areas?
We are not yet in partnership with any foreign hospital; we have a number of partnerships with some non-governmental organisations (NGOs), especially with regards to issue of HIV, tuberculosis and some aspect of nutrition, we have that kind of collaboration around and in a lot of research areas and all aims towards improving healthcare delivery system.