The Ibom Specialist Hospital in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has been shut down, just two years after it was built and commissioned by the administration of former governor Godswill Akpabio.
Mr. Akpabio had boasted that the hospital, which he described as ‘world class’, was better equipped and higher in status than university teaching hospitals in Nigeria, and that it was going to promote medical tourism in the country.
The multi-million dollar hospital was shut down in September after its private managers terminated their contract with the state government and withdrew from the facility.
Almost all the health workers in the hospital were foreigners, mostly from India.
For more than 9 months the Specialist Hospital has not operated at 25% capacity. Majority of the leased equipment in the hospital had been withdrawn.
Most people, especially in government circles were aware of this.
Some time ago, negotiations with the management company failed.
My question is, what was the Ministry of Health thinking?
That miracles were going to happen and that is why no contingency plans were made?
In modern days, hospitals don’t just shut down like that, a couple of years after being built.
ONLY IN NIGERIA!
The Ministry of Health dropped the ball here.
The government of Akwa Ibom state has to redeem the situation to save the millions of dollars that have been spent to build the hospital.
The government can not run that hospital so it has to be given out to a management company to run it.
At this point, I don’t believe that a Nigerian based management company will be able to run it efficiently. Not because there are no qualified Nigerians to run it but because of the corruption factor built into the Nigerian system.
It is sad that this should happen in Akwa Ibom. — Imeh Akpan
It is only in Nigeria that a specialist hospital or any hospital at all will be closed down instead of revamping and making it to work.
Was the contract between the Hospital (State Ministry of Health) and Cardiocare”termless” so that they continued to be managers in perpetuity? If the previous administration, as I believe would be claimed, did sign such unfair contract terms, there is always contract clause to repudiate same in event of non-performance. So, why would the current administration through the Ministry not take action to save the hospital at the early stage if it was being monitored/audited?
Do we not have qualified doctors and medical personnel in Akwa Ibom State or Nigeria as whole. I can recall that during the last administration, retired Senior Doctors and other medical specialists were recalled from retirement and rewarded handsomely to train doctors in the state. Did they not inject any specialism/knowledge/experience into our health system? India does have good doctors but such are not better than Nigerian doctors, except in sharp practices.
There is never any progress where there is no continuity. People are toying with the future of our children, including theirs regardless of what level of wealth they think they can amass for them in 8 or 10 years. There are no guarantees in life. — Mary Enang
When a journalist from PREMIUM TIMES visited the hospital on Monday evening, the facility was locked down; apart from the security officials, not a single person was inside its massive buildings.
Visitors were not allowed entry.
Some persons who had worked in the hospital told PREMIUM TIMES that the private managers – Cardiocare Medical Services Ltd – left because of unresolved issues bordering on funding by the state government.
A medical doctor who used to work in the hospital told PREMIUM TIMES that it struggled for survival because it did not enjoy much patronage from people within and outside Akwa Ibom.
The doctor, who did not want his name mentioned in this report, said Governor Udom Emmanuel and his administration did not care much about how the hospital was faring, adding that the governor never visited or promoted the hospital in order to encourage local patronage.
The hospital, which was one of the signature projects of the Akpabio administration, was hurriedly inaugurated in May 2015, few days to the end of the administration, even when the buildings were yet to be completed.
But Governor Emmanuel said in June that the hospital was not well-equipped to produce optimum results, an assertion that has been re-echoed by the health commissioner.