The Honourable Minister of State for Health, Hon. Joseph Ekumankama commissioned Critical Care Facilities at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) on Friday 16 December 2022.
The Minister of State for Health, represented by the Director and Senior Technical Assistant to the Minister of State for Health, Dr David Atuwo congratulated the Board and Management of LUTH on the 60th anniversary of its founding, celebrated earlier in August. Noting that it was indeed gratifying to see the numerous achievements, the hospital has recorded in different areas of medical practice over the years.
According to the Minister, LUTH has been making steady progress in upgrading its facilities for cancer care, especially in radiotherapy. Other aspects of cancer care, have also improved as well, with the help of various programmes of Government, Corporate Bodies and well-meaning members of the public. The commissioning of the 30-Bed Intensive Care Unit, newly renovated Neonatal Intensive Unit, Paediatric Intensive Unit and Labour Ward with the newly built 60-Bed Alima Atta Oncology Centre shows the hard work of the Board and Management as well as the Staff of LUTH.
Speaking further, the Minister said he is aware of the brain drain affecting the health sector in the country, with LUTH and other Tertiary Health Institutions facing an acute shortage of Doctors, Nurses and other Health Professionals due to the ‘JAPA’ syndrome as it is locally called. On this issue, he disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Health together with other Government Agencies, including the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation is working to ensure that exiting staff are replaced as soon and seamlessly as possible.
Earlier, the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan in her remarks stated that in any society the quality of Healthcare delivery is largely determined by its material and human resource. Providing equitable access to health care for every Nigerian is an integral part of this Government's agenda. To further demonstrate its commitment to the attainment of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the country, the improvement of the Health, Education and Productivity of Nigerians is captured in the nine (9) Priority Areas of this Administration.
While Government is putting in place the requisite infrastructure and mechanisms to drive quality service delivery in the health sector, its efforts require the support of medical professionals and personnel in the country. This is by demonstrating greater commitment, professionalism, accountability and responsiveness in the delivery of service to Nigerians.
The Director General, of the Budget Office of the Federation, Dr Ben Akabueze while congratulating the Hospital for the landmark projects, informed that the newly renovated Labour Ward was built in 1981 by the Shehu Shagari administration, but was abandoned for the past 6 years because it became dilapidated and unsafe for use. “This rehabilitation project was fully funded through the Federal Government Budgetary allocation at the cost of N220m. All the suites have piped oxygen with 2-D Ultrasound Machines and Cardiotocograph (CTG) machines. There are also Neonatal Resuscitation rooms with Resuscitators and radiant warmers.
The Chief Medical Director, of LUTH, Prof. Chris Bode, in his welcome remarks, informed that LUTH has grown with the city of Lagos, contributing its quota to national aspirations through service, training and research. “We in LUTH saw opportunities in a number of recent challenges we have had to confront, turning them into achievements for the hospital. For years, we had shortages of Intensive Care Unit beds for Critical Care. Although our ICU services were the cheapest in Lagos, we were sadly oversubscribed and sometimes had to turn needy patients away to seek care elsewhere, sadly at a cost 5 to 10 times higher than what we charge."
He informed the Honourable Minister, the Head of Service of the Federation and the Director General Budget that the newly built facilities would require their special dispensation to man and run. “If we must operate professionally, the newly commissioned facilities. There is a need for the employment of 230 Nurses as well as 60 Doctors, 15 of whom should be Consultants.”
It is worthy of note that the 60-Bed Alima Atta Oncology Centre was built and equipped for LUTH, by Mrs Iyabo Attah in memory of her daughter Alima Atta who died of cancer of the Lymph Nodes over seven (7) years ago and as a hope for refuge for cancer patients.
By Blessing Efem
Signed: Ahmadu Chindaya (Deputy Director of Media & Public Relations)
16 December 2022