OPINION: Attention Ilorin General Hospital. By Joke Adeniyi

Date: 2017-03-31

What brings more joy to a family than the birth of a child? The new parents will be by themselves with delight and excitement at the thought of welcoming the newest member of their family to the world. Having endured the challenges of pregnancy, the mother perceives childbirth as a rewarding event. So, it was for the parents of a newborn baby (whose name I won't disclose for reasons best known to me), who basked in the euphoria of the delivery of their child delivered at the Ilorin General Hospital penultimate week. But, the glee was overtaken by despair following the events that played out thereafter. The newborn baby developed life threatening medical complications. The baby was to be placed on oxygen therapy to save his life.

Sadly, the hope of getting the life-saving emergency help was dashed. Reason: There was power outage and no fuel to power the generating set. The poor parents were thrown off balance with attitude of the health personnel on duty, who registered their helplessness in the situation. According to the parents, the medics were unruffled about the emergency situation. This, one must note, is a problem that has bedevilled the health sector.

Poor attitude of Health workers most of the time, put patients lives in jeopardy. So, the parents had to rush the baby, whose breathe was already belaboured, to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), where the life of the new born was eventually saved. The new parents are yet to get over the traumatic experience; the memories of how they nearly lost the baby still haunt them.

In a related development, I could recall a visit to the hospital sometimes last year to see a friend's child who was on admission for respiratory distress, in the paediatrics ward. What I observed during the visit was baffling; there was only one oxygen machine while the children that were in need of the therapy were about three. My friend's child had the oxygen mask resting snugly on her mouth when I stepped into the ward; however, suddenly a nurse rushed to the baby's bedside and unplugged oxygen because another child was in need of it. The child with the most acute case is given priority for the treatment, which I believe is an anomaly because the condition of the other patients could relapse if the required treatment is not timely.

It is believed that harm to a patient can occur from an act of commission or omission. This development, however, brings to fore need for adequate equipment of the general hospital in order for it to serve the purpose for which it was established, which is qualitative healthcare service delivery. The primary function of any health institution is to save life and not otherwise.

Lack of electricity is a big challenge as power supply is essential to activities in the hospital. It is for this reason that the hospital management must ensure reliable alternative power supply, such as inverters and solar powered energy for smooth operation.

The state government on its part should ensure that public hospitals are adequately funded, equipped and provided with competent and skilled manpower. Of equal importance is effective monitoring of the government hospitals for positive result in the health sector. It is only by so doing that the dream of the present administration of a functional health system can be achieved.

It is also pertinent that the health care providers in the hospital shun negative attitude towards work and be more sensitive to the plight of the patients in their care. They need to understand that healthcare is more of a humanitarian service. As observed, poor attitudinal problem, particularly in the public sector has further endangered lives of patients.

It is for this reason that most people prefer to patronise private hospitals where the welfare of patients is put on the front burner because the private sector health workers know that they (patients) are the 'customers' keeping them in business. The management must put measures in place to monitor the activities of these health workers. Their responsibility should be first and foremost to save lives.

There is no doubt that the Governor Ahmed administration has recorded tremendous transformation in the health sector, which include the rehabilitation of the general hospitals across the state, this is a sustainable effort aimed at taking the state to higher pedestal. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to further develop the sector in the interest of all.

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