By Jude Atupulazi and Chioma Ndife
The Chief Medical Director of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, COOUTH, Awka, Hon. Dr. Joe Chukwudi Akabuike, has proposed the establishment of a master plan geared at transforming the hospital to be at par with international standards.
He made the disclosure recently in his office during in a chat with Fides, saying that the idea behind the master plan was to attract the best hands that would render medical services to Ndi Anambra at affordable cost.
Dr. Akabuike said that as a Teaching Hospital, COUTH needed improvement in the standard and quality of services rendered, increase in number of specialists, more structures for specialty and sub-specialty, noting that if the hospital was better positioned in terms of structure, many Anambra born medical practitioners that had attained some level of professionalism in their special area would be willing to come home to assist in most of the specialist surgeries.
He maintained that once there was a structure on ground, most of the specialist surgeons could decide to come and perform surgeries in the facilities provided, even with their own equipment. He recalled that such happened at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Adazi-Nnukwu, when the state government under Peter Obi put up the heart transplant unit which made it possible for Dr. Joseph Nwilo to come down from the United States of America with a team of medical practitioners and perform a heart transplant surgery. He noted that such special surgeries are not done on daily basis and could be organized when need be.
The CMD said the teaching hospital was meant to be a specialist centre in many things and disclosed that the medical team at COUTH at the moment was proposing a renal centre that would take care of dialysis, while kidney transplant could also be done in the place.
He revealed that kidney transplant could now be done at Umuahia and Abuja, saying that he marveled when he discovered that the people carrying out the transplant when he travelled round other medical centres on an exchange tour were people from Anambra.
He said that a special cardiac unit was also needed to enable the hospital to carry out open heart surgeries.
Dr Akabuike said that the conceived master plan would be presented to the state governor and expressed optimism that the plan, if followed religiously, would guide successive governments on the development plan of the hospital to avoid having scattered structures which ended up confusing patients seeking medical care at the hospital.
In his words, ‘As a teaching hospital, there is need for the improvement of services, standard of services, and the number of specialist cases. We need more structures because when you talk of specialty and sub-specialty, that is where the world is heading to.
‘If this hospital is properly positioned in terms of structure, there are so many Anambra people that are willing to come home to assist in most of these special surgeries, even with their own equipment, but you can’t invite them when you don’t have facility for such surgeries to be carried out.
This is exactly what is happening at Adazi when the government put up the heart transplant unit and Dr. Joseph Nwilo came down from the U.S. with some other medical personnel and this type of surgery is not done on a daily basis.
‘What we are aiming is to make this place a specialist centre in so many things. We are proposing a renal center where we can do all the dialysis and still do kidney transplant. It is currently done in Umuahia and Abuja and incidentally, the people doing these surgeries for others are from Anambra and the only thing that is holding them is to have a structure here. We need to have a special cardiac unit where open heart surgery can be done,’ Dr Akabuike said.
He described his coming to the hospital as a child of circumstance, saying that he was faced with the challenge of restructuring the hospital immediately after he took over from his predecessor who died in active service.