By Mmaduabuchi Onwumelu
The Chief Medical Director, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital (COOUTH), Amaku, Awka, Dr Joe Akabuike, has described a newspaper report (not Fides) making the rounds about the situation in the health institution as false, malicious and image damaging, even as he called on Ndi Anambra to disregard the publication, describing it as the handiwork of mischief makers and enemies of progress.
The former Commissioner for Health, Anambra State, stated this during a press briefing held at COOUTH’s Boardroom while reacting over what he described as an allegation published in one of the national dailies which went viral recently. He said the report was aimed at tarnishing the image of the hospital under his leadership.
According to him, ‘This call is necessary to address a false and malicious publication on me and our teaching hospital by yet an unknown person but published in THISDAY Newspaper on 18th May, 2022.
‘Within one year in office, we were able to reposition the health institution to live up to its expectations. We commissioned new complexes, introduced SERVICOM for effective service delivery to patients, accredited four departments/School of Nursing, including the Podiatrist, which has not been in existence since my inception in office, provided street lights within the cranny of the hospital, procured 3D ultrasound machine, reticulated water to all parts of the hospital with provision of additional water tank.
‘Due to the increased cost of managing the hospital, drugs and other goods by 200 per cent, and difficulty of patients to pay for the goods and services, we have engaged NGOs and philanthropists who continually help us to offset the bills of indigent patients. The truth which will set people free are by far the truth which they are not prepared to hear. It costs nothing to always say the truth because one does not need to remember it but lies are what one needs to remember and defend at every moment,’ the CMD said.
Dr Akabuike also stated that he supervised the day to day running of the hospital along with other members of the Management, while the Governing Board directed all the hospital affairs. He added that a harmonious relationship had been made, both with the Board members, Management team and entire hospital community, just as seen in numerous achievements recorded so far.
Part of Dr Akabuike’s success story in office within one year, according to him, are building and equipping a dialysis unit, trained Renal Nurses on the use of the machines, constructed and equipped consultant lodge as the first of its kind in the Eastern Region, procured power generating set solely for the private ward/dialysis unit, completed and commissioned Mother and Child Referral Center which was abandoned, renovation of mortuary/management reforms and others.
Dr Akabuike also noted that it was standard practice in all tertiary institutions to feed in-patients, except if the patient could not feed orally. Hence, he noted, it would help the nurses to administer drugs as and when due, maintain hygiene of the patient and ensure quantity and quality of food given.
‘This year, we have gotten up to N1.5 million from individuals who wish to assist patients and we remain thankful to them. About N3.2 million. The case of N1.71 million is not a question that I will answer. We have both internal and external auditors and every account of expenditure made goes to their table,’ he said.
In addition, the Chairman, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwifery, Comrade Onwuka Edith, thanked Dr Akabuike for what he she described as his doggedness and zeal towards making a success of whatever he did since he was made Commissioner for Health to his present position and encouraged him to continue his good work, especially in uniting all health practitioners.