HEALTH CARE: From one general hospital to 20 in 21 years in Anambra
By Vincent Ujumadu
By 1999 when the current democratic dispensation came into being, Anambra State had only one developed general hospital and that was the Onitsha General Hospital. Though there were other general hospitals located in some local government headquarters, they were more or less glorified health centres as most of them lacked the basic facilities required in a General Hospital.
There are presently about 20 general hospitals in various parts of the state, while each of the 326 political wards in the state has at least a Primary Healthcare Centre.
The state Primary Healthcare Development Agency coordinates all the primary health care activities through the observance of the routine immunisation, de-worming exercises, as well as rendering support to the rural dwellers on ways of maintaining proper hygiene.
One noticeable feature in the state is the constant training of primary healthcare workers by the Ministry of Health to acquaint them with modern-day health care delivery system.
Over the years, however, the subsequent administrations in the state upgraded facilities in some of the hospital and posted qualified doctors and other health workers to man them. Today, the Awka General Hospital at Amaku has been upgraded to a teaching hospital serving also as the medical school of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University.
The Ojukwu Varsity Teaching Hospital trains medical doctors, including specialist doctors under the residency programme. About three sets of medical doctors have graduated from the hospital.
Similarly, the Onitsha General Hospital has become an arm of the Guinness Eye Hospital, while the Federal Government-owned Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, is among the top tertiary health institutions in the country. NAUTH also has outposts in many communities in the state to complement the activities of other state-owned health institutions.
It must be noted that health care development received a boost during the administration of former Governor Peter Obi, who incorporated the churches as part of the state’s healthcare delivery. For instance, the Obi administration spent billions of naira to upgrade and equip mission hospitals in various parts of the state.
Top on the list were the Iyi Enu Hospital owned by the Anglican Church, the Amichi Diocesan Hospital also owned by the Anglican Church, as well as Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Ihiala, Waterside Hospital, Onitsha, and St. Joseph’s Hospital, Adazi, all owned by the Catholic Church.
Before 2006, none of the hospitals in the state had accreditation for the training of nurses and midwives, but through the administration’s efforts, all the schools of nursing and midwifery in the state were accredited.
Also, all the primary health centres in the state were renovated and cold stores were installed to ensure proper storage of drugs and other medicaments. The World Health Organisation, WHO, and the World Bank have also assisted the state immensely by giving facelift to health institutions in the state, with the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, intervening in some communities where the world body had provided structures for water, sanitation and basic hygiene in the health care facilities.
To ensure that the state does not lack in the area of middle-level manpower, a School of Health Technology was established at Obosi and some of the courses offered by the school have been accredited by the national body.[NewsNaira]
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