By Richard Peters
A lot of people do not know about the endearing projects which tops the agenda of the Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration. The governor who has since his assumption of office in 2015 delved into virtually every sector of the state economy, has been aggressively committed to the improved healthcare of his people.
From the upgrade of hospitals to the provision of more equipment and facilities in health centres across the length and breadth of the state, Governor Emmanuel has proven his mettle as one who’s responsive to the health demands of the Akwa Ibom citizenry.
Based on the strength of his commitment to ensuring affordable and stressfree access to efficient health services, the state governor made a case for the completion, functionality and revival of the hitherto moribund Specialist Hospital – a project which laid waste as a carcass when he came on board.
It is on record that the Ibom Specialist Hospital (ISH), established in 2015 by the previous administration to provide advanced specialty services to patients from Akwa Ibom region and other parts of Nigeria, had become non-operational, an eyesore and subsequently, an abandoned project prior to the close of the previous administration.
Thus, the present administration inherited the Ibom Specialist hospital in name without a roof, theatre or dialysis machine except for few beds, one CT scan machine and one MRI machine.
Notably, only the ground floor and part of the first floor was completed, with its modus of operation totally strained by the income-draining management agreement binding its terms of completion.
It thus happened that the edifice which was billed to be of “world-class standard, and higher in status than a teaching hospital in Nigeria”, became an audio project existing in the glory of its projected potentials.
Today, the “21st Century Hospital” as was nicknamed, can boast of world-class theatres, best-in-class dialysis machines, a radiography machine, an emergency theatre, an electric blanket and blood warmer, a well-equipped intensive care unit, a brand new 500kva generator, an ambulance of international standard and a completed standard roofing worth over N50m.
Moreso, the hospital is equipped with 640 slides CT scan, digital mammography and endoscopy surgery machines, highly sophisticated intensive care units and medical gas plants, all sitting on a large landmass with paperless and fully automated laboratories, with its detailed luxury interiors having a classy feel of a hotel-like environment, plus the lively green surroundings which are soothing and promotes the best healing environment.
In addition, the state government is making frantic efforts to link the hospital to the national grid, having freed it from the shackles of the income-draining management agreement it formerly had.
The state Specialist Hospital is now a bevy of equipment and services, a place for medical tourism with vast socio-economic impact, and has become a world-class Health Care facility, all thanks to the present administration.
Notably, the hospital recorded its first neurosurgery in April 18, 2018 and has at the last count carried out free open-heart surgeries for 10 children and a handful of adults.
Vanguard records one of hospital’s patients – Professor Dousis – to have agreed that the surgery he undertook at the Ibom Specialist Hospital “… is the best surgery I have had in my life. I have done three surgeries before in Europe, but let me tell you, this is the best I have had”.
Another Uwem Johnson is said to have expressed thus: “I was booked for operation and it was successfully carried out. Look at me today, I am a brand-new man”.
Buttressing their testimonies, the Chief Medical Director of the Specialist Hospital, Dr. Emmanuel Ekanem had explained that the hospital was chosen in the country for pediatric operations because it met the criteria set by the sponsor.
“Since I came on board in July 2019, we have done two brain operations. We have done one spinal cord surgery. I did not need to bring anybody from outside. The hands we need are available. I have what I need but as we expand, we will need more people”, he said.
“Next week, we are going to remove a brain tumour with an entirely Nigerian crew. We have done a spinal cord surgery and the person is recovering in the ward. We will start training Radiologists from next year (2020), not undergraduates but specialists”, he added.
All of these are verifiable attestations to the functionality of the Ibom Specialist Hospital where indigenes are guaranteed 50% subsidy on health charges anytime.
The advantage of the now-running Specialist Hospital is the access to extraordinary expertise, study resources and therapy programs that are not often available at general health centers.
Specialist Hospitals often have professionals with years of experience treating individuals with nearly all types of acute and chronic health challenges with reduced medical complications, improved productivity and lower long-term costs.
Because specialty hospitals put together a custom team of physicians, therapists and caregivers, every patient’s plan is designed with unprecedented expertise hence, Akwa Ibomites and Nigerians at large can choose to tap from the specialized patient and family education, more options to participate in research studies and access to services not found in most rehabilitation centers.
Udom is working!