The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has described the projects commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) on Thursday, 19th November, 2020 as "a reflection of the Nigerian Government’s commitment to modern and efficient healthcare delivery, and a testimony to the inspiration operators in the healthcare space derived from the President's dedication to developing Nigeria."
This view was expressed by Dr. Ehanire while giving his address at the commissioning event of landmark projects at UMTH.
The Honourable Minister pointed out that Nigeria's health system was strained by the global COVID-19 pandemic like those of many other countries in 2020, but Nigeria's health system survived it. He singled out for special mentioning that "Among the best performing hospitals in this respect has been the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, which responded well in handling COVID-19 cases, while not failing in routine service delivery, in spite of security pressure."
Dr. Ehanire said that in the midst of the global challenge of the COVID and the insurgency inn the North East Zone of the Country where UMTH is situated, "the management has found time, mustered support and the wherewithal, to continue the path of growth and infrastructure expansion, towards being one of the largest and most specialty diversified Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria." He declared that "The Federal Government is committed to supporting the developmental strides that I see in this hospital and our health sector. The Management and Board must be commended and I now formally congratulate the Chairman, Governing Board and the Chief Medical Director, Prof. Ahmed Ahidjo for their leadership, resilience and dedication, even under the difficult circumstances of the Northeast region."
Earlier, the Chief Medical Director of UMTH, Professor Ahmad Ahidjo along with his Board who are the Chief Visioners of the commissioned projects disclosed that the hospital which was established in 1983, is the first and the largest Teaching Hospital in the North-Eastern zone of Nigeria. He further said that "With the commissioning, the total bed capacity of the hospital would rise from 630 to close to 800"; adding that "When the on-going projects are completed, the hospital will be over 1,200 bed capacity which is about twice its current capacity and the largest hospital in Nigeria." UMTH, Ahidjo said, serves a population of over 33 Million in the North East Geopolitical zone of Nigeria, and sizeable number across the borders of the Cameroon, Niger and Chad Republics" thus, "UMTH requires expansion in infrastructure and services. Therefore, taking the hospital higher from its previous level to what we see today and what will be seen in the next couple of months is not an option but a priority."
Professor Ahidjo added to the vision statement of where the commissioned projects will be taking UMTH to: "Injury accounts for 16 % of the global burden of disease. The burden of death and disability from injury is especially notable in our environment where insurgent attacks have worsened the situation. With our new Muhammadu Buhari Trauma Centre slated for commissioning today, the hospital will be well positioned to deliver expert care to injured patients and reduce the challenge of long waiting time, lack of bed spaces and dearth of auxiliary services associated with the old Accident and Emergency area. This project is funded as a capital project and equipped through Special Intervention fund by Federal Ministry of Finance (FMOF).
It is no news that all injured patients treated in our hospital who needed prostheses are often referred to other centres outside the northeast or out of Nigeria. The newly constructed Physical Rehabilitation Centre will obviate the need for this henceforth, as it is equipped with the technology required to provide this service. This project is fully funded by ICRC."
"On what led us to propose the construction of Dr. MK Dikwa GOPD/NHIS and Retainership Complex, the largest outpatient department in Nigeria, "The population of Maiduguri has increased markedly over the last decade. Part of the causes of the increase was the relocation of majority of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the region to Maiduguri." He added that this stated reason "led to over-stretching of the General Outpatients Department (GOPD) of UMTH and those of other hospitals in the State capital. In fact, prior to 2009, the average number of patients seen at the GOPD was 44,099 per annum. As at December, 2017 the total number of cases seen stood at 64,783, giving a 1.5-fold increase in the total GOPD cases from 2009 to 2017. Therefore, this complex, which is managed by family physicians, will render needed outpatient care to our people. This project is solely funded through Special Intervention fund by FMOF", Ahidjo disclosed.
On the new Auditorium, the UMTH CMD said "This 1000-seat capacity Auditorium will go a long way to addressing the challenge of large space for conferences and lectures faced by the hospital....the Auditorium has already aided our re-accreditation undertaken by Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria." Same reason can be adduced for the 160-bed capacity Nursing Students Hostel Extension.
While the CMD expressed his deep appreciation to President Muhammad Buhari, GCFR for seeing reasons to personally commission these projects virtually from the State House, Abuja and directing the duo of the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire and H.E. Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State to physically commission, he did not forget to pay due homage to his Board Chairman and the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Dr. Abubakar Umar Ibn Garbai Al-Amin El-Kanemi for their support.
Signed: Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Media and Public Relations, FMOH.