Rebuilding North East Health Facilities

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While Boko Haram activities destroyed five general hospitals and over 100 PHCs in Yobe State, as well as several other health facilities in Borno and Adamawa States, the process of rebuilding are now in top gear, and MTN Foundation is lending its support through its Emergency Ward Intervention Initiative. Martins Ifijeh reports

Some of the EWII equipments been presented by MTN Foundation to six general hospitals in the Northeast

For almost 10 years, the North-eastern part of Nigeria has been embroiled in Boko Haram activities leading to the decline of economic activities and collapse of many public institutions including health facilities, market places, schools, as well as religious homes. A situation that has further added to the suffering of residents of this region and scared investors.

But with peace gradually returning to the once economically vibrant region, stakeholders continue to count the injuries and wounds left behind by the unrest, hoping that soon, the region’s healthcare, educational system, among others will find their way back for the benefit of residents of the region.

For instance, available information shows that about 788 health facilities have been destroyed in the region by Boko Haram activities.

On specifics, in Yobe State alone, over 100 Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) were destroyed while five general hospitals were lost during the terrorist invasion of the state, leaving the people to only survive health challenges at the mercy of the innate immunity given by their body’s white blood cells. Many, during those periods died not because they were felled by grenades and guns, but because they were unable to treat simple malaria and ulcer.

In Borno State, available information shows that over 48 health workers were killed with about 250 injured by the insurgents. It is also believed that not less than 40 per cent of the health facilities in the state have been destroyed, with only a third of those left remain functional; a situation that has made the state loose 35 per cent of its doctors to other states.

It is in rebuilding this grossly degraded healthcare system in the region that governments in partnership with various stakeholders, health bodies and corporate organisations decided to lend support to putting the healthcare system of the region back in shape.

One of such organisations that have resolved to lend a helping hand to rebuilding the healthcare system of the region is MTN Foundation, through its Emergency Ward Intervention Initiative (EWII).

It is providing medical equipment and consumables to six hospitals in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno States worth hundreds of millions of Naira as a cushion for the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) towards putting healthcare in the region back in shape.

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the formal handover of its emergency ward interventions to Borno State, the Chairman, MTN Foundation, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, said while over 1.9 million people have been displaced in the region by insurgency, over seven million persons were in need of humanitarian assistance, an unfortunate scenario that has prompted the Foundation to support government, hence the setting up of EWII to cushion their efforts.
He said with the project underway, medical equipment and consumables have been provided in six hospitals in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno States which will lead to faster treatment of victims of emergency situations.

“There is an old adage that ‘one never appreciates your health until you fall sick. This is why the saying, health is wealth’ is true, anytime, any day. It is even a totally different ball game when good health or living is truncated by an emergency situation.

“Indeed, emergency situations happen almost every month around the world, with the natural disaster like the torrential rains in china, the hurricane in the U.S. or the tragic mud-slides in nearby Sierra Leone,” he explained.

“As we hand over these resources, it is our prayer that we do not witness another attack again. We also use this occasion to restate our support and commitment to the federal and state governments’ efforts to end the war against Boko Haram,” he added.

Some of the donated equipment include 600 protective aprons, 30 inflatable adult 4-splints set with case,30 stretchers, six electrocardiogram machine 12-LEAD, 30 adult full leg inflatable suit, six vital sign monitor, Vital Sign Monitor, 60 protective linen, 180 scrubs, 60 anti static clogs, digital patient monitors suitable for adult and pediatric with NIBP, ECG temperature and SP02, Carl Novel, Germany, six trollers for monitor, six automatic external defibrillator, 12 nebulizzers, 30 stethoscope, 30 suture sets, 30 Carl novel Germany/Spencer head mobiliser scoop.

Others are 30 universal pen touch, 30 diagnostic set, 12 first aid boxes, 36 spine board, 120 extraction collar for spine board, (screen print and off set paper sticker), six aspirator, 30 sanitises, six laryngoscopes, 360 hospital gowns for patients, 30 clogs, 30 fractured mobilisers, aiming others, including consumables.

The beneficiary hospitals are General Hospital, Ganye; General Hospital, Mubi; Sani Abacha Hospital, Damaturu; Federal Medical Centre, Nguru; UmaruShehu Ultra Modern Hospital, Bulumkutu; and General Hospital, Biu.

Meanwhile, governors of the three beneficiary North-eastern states (Borno, Adamawa and Yobe) have applauded the successful partnership which they said has secured the installation of medical equipment in six hospitals in the different states.

They described the interventions as timely and largely impactful projects, designed to help improve and boost the healthcare sector for the benefit of the people.

At the inauguration, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State noted the significance of such a project, considering the severe impact of insurgencies on the healthcare system over the last seven years, particularly as it relates to the availability of drugs and basic health facilities to combat the rising number of casualties.

“This is a high value initiative, that is worthy of commendation. I am so excited that MTN shares our vision for the people of Borno State. We want you to invest more in the state and country, especially at this point in time where a lot of economic reforms are being put in place,” he added.

Speaking during the handover ceremony at Sani Abacha Hospital, Damaturu, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mohammed Bello who represented the Yobe State governor, said “These contributions have been made where they are most needed, these items will be deployed to the generality of the people and by extension visitors passing through Yobe State.” He went on to note that the insurgency had affected five general hospitals and left over one hundred primary health care facilities vandalised, looted and razed.

The Adamawa State governor, Senator Mohammed Umaru Jibrilla went on to say, “For a company like MTN to remember humanity, it is worth appreciating.” I thank the Foundation for this donation. We will continue to work with them and strengthen the ties between us.