Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

The Chief Medical Director, (CMD), University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Dr. Darlington Obaseki, has raised the alarm over high debts owed by patients who were treated at the hospital, even as he said the hospital gave a waiver of N35million between January-December, 2017 to patients who could not pay.

Obaseki stated this in Benin City, at the celebration of his 50th birthday, “We did a lot of waivers to patients, when we found that the situation is getting worse due to the general economic situation. Most patients can’t pay their bills and we can´t turn people back”.

According to him, “As at December 2017, we gave waiver of over N35million bills owed by patients and that is a lot of money that we don’t have. But we consider that as part of our contributions to the society. It is a big problem that so many people cannot afford hospital bills and we cannot turn people back. We have to provide services to people and we are finding a way to do that¨.

On how his administration ended the strike action by staff of the hospital, Obaseki explained that when he came on board, he noticed there was general despondency and demoralised workforce in UBTH.

“WE just realised that the first action should be to lift the moral of the workers. We spoke to them and assured them that what is due to them will be given to them. We made them realise that the new management team, our priority will be staff welfare. We kept telling them and we have demonstrated this in the past five, six months. We are happy that the staff are happy with us today.”

“We will go the extra mile to make them happy because that is the key to motivate them. My dream is that in the next four years of my tenure we will not experience any local strike and we hope to actualise that. We have started on a good note.

“We met a fragile system, yes the system was functional but fragile. When I say fragile, I mean, when there is any little disruption like when a generator breaks down the system crumbles. When citiscan breaks down, everybody goes out to do citiscan. But we said it should not be so.

“For a hospital as big as UBTH, we expect to have backups in the event that one is down. We have succeeded in doing that because that is one of the major issues we inherited. We are hoping to get more funds to get more of these equipment, he stated.