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How Prof Ugboma is transforming UPTH – By Dr Paul John

Prof Henry Ugboma is one of the heads of tertiary health institutions recently appointed by Mr President and whose appointments took effect from 31st December 2017. His appointment seems to be timely as patients were already losing their trusts in the hospital. Before his appointment, surgeries were cancelled over one reason or the other. In fact the hospital was a tertiary hospital in form but functioned as a secondary health institution .Imagine a scenario where a tertiary health institution was referring out obstetric cases in the middle of the night for no other reason than there was no power supply in the only public tertiary hospital in the oil-rich Rivers state.


Within three months of Prof Ugboma’s administration, surgeries are now held as earlier scheduled, power outage in the hospital is now a thing of the past. Gone were the days when the Surgery team on call would go and kowtow to the workers in the power generating unit for them to power the theatre for an emergency surgery  and those in the power generating unit would wait for instruction from their ‘oga at the top’. One doctor recounted his experience in one private hospital where when he told the patient relative that he was referring them to UPTH for further expert management, the relatives refused and offered to be referred out of the state.


In the area of mosquitoes disturbing people within the hospital community, Prof Ugboma has set up a committee to look into the matter and proffer solutions to this age-long problem in the hospital. Before now, patients and their relatives would beg their doctors not to admit them in the wards for no other reason than the fear of mosquitoes in the facility. The committee is currently working assiduously to ensure a lasting solution is brought to this lingering problem in the hospital. It had been reported by different media houses in the past that that UPTH seemed to have the worst ‘strain/species’ of mosquitoes in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa.


In the area of security, the Prof Henry Ugboma led administration seems to have beefed up security in the hospital. Remember last year, a resident doctor in the rank of a senior registrar was kidnapped inside the hospital while she was on call. When she was finally released, she recounted how one of the officers of the hospital’s internal security outfit was involved in the kidnapping saga. The Prof Henry Ugboma administration has put measures in place to forestall the recurrence of such ugly incident .Doctors and other members of the university community are now moving freely without any fear of being kidnapped at any time of the day or night.


Before the appointment of Prof Henry A. A. Ugboma as the chief medical director of the University of Port Harcourt (UPTH), he was a senior lecturer and Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist with the University and the hospital respectively. On assumption of office he ensured that he worked with the best brains in the hospital in order to ensure that his transformation agenda was successful. To this end, Professor P.C. Stanley was appointed as the Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee ( CMAC). For those who do not know Prof P.C. Stanley, he is an award winning Consultant Psychiatrist and Senior lecturer with the hospital and the University.


He is unarguably one of the most respected medical elders in Rivers state. In Rivers state NMA election, if a contestant could get Prof P.C. Stanley’s endorsement, that candidate would be celebrating his victory before the election would be conducted because Prof P.C. Stanley is one of the, if not the most, respected medical elder in the state.  Prof P.C. Stanley earned his respect in the field of medical science as he made distinctions in virtually all his medical courses. His Inaugural lecture on alcohol,titled ‘Who hath woe’, remains unparalleled in the university till date .


Meanwhile, The University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) is on East West Road, Port Harcourt, Nigeria. It is a major tertiary-care teaching and research facility in Rivers State. University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital originally commenced its operations in 1980 and was officially commissioned by the federal government in 1985. When it started out, there were 60 beds mainly in use. After relocating to its permanent site in 2006, the hospital’s capacity was expanded to 500 beds.University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital is managed through a three-tier managerial system consisting – the Board of Management, Hospital Management Committee (HMC) and the Departments.


Nearly 200,000 patients are seen annually in both outpatient and inpatient settings, as well as over 3000 surgical operations a year. Average bed occupancy rate in 12 months has risen above 70%. Besides offering medical services, the hospital tends to provide clinical education and training to students, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Over the years, many research activities and results from its organized units have appeared on several major national and international medical and scientific journals.


With this team at work ,the trusts of patients and their relatives are now being restored as the hospital has begun to live up to the true meaning of a Federal Teaching Hospital  and not a glorified General Hospital or a medical centre.


Dr Paul John-www.drpauljohn.com,mazipauljohn@gmail.com,08083658038



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