Army Refutes Allegations of Medical Negligence of Soldiers Injured in North East

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Chiemelie Ezeobi
Following allegations of medical negligence levelled against the Nigerian Army by a purported unknown injured soldier, the authorities yesterday debunked such claims.

According to the viral letter written to President Muhammadu Buhari by the Unknown Soldier, the army hierarchy is in the habit of neglecting soldiers injured in the war front, especially in the Northeast.

The acting Chief Director, 68 Reference Hospital, Yaba, Lagos State, Brigadier General Adekola Dada, while reacting to the viral allegations, said it was mind boggling that people would accuse the army authorities of medical negligence given the huge resources spent on taking care of its injured soldiers.

Explaining the system of referring wounded soldiers from the battle field to army referral hospitals, he said: “The process for referral is very fast. If a soldier is wounded, he is evacuated to the base hospital depending on the nature of the injury.

“We currently have three referral centres in the army; one at 44 Nigerian reference hospital Kaduna, military hospital in Ikoyi and 68 reference hospital Yaba, both in Lagos State.
“For some injured soldiers, some of the cases can even be managed locally there. We have what we call the 7 Division medical services and hospital in Maiduguri, Borno State, which takes care and stabilizes wounded personnel immediately.

“If there is any issue with a soldier, he can equally be evacuated to Kaduna. Once he is evacuated to Kaduna, they do the needful and the paper works starts immediately.
“Sometimes, the process of setting up a board, examining the soldier and determining the status just takes like five days or one week. Once that is done, the recommendation is sent to the office of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, who does the approval.

“I don’t remember anyone who was sent to him by the headquarters of the Nigerian Army Medical Corps that he declined. As we speak, there is only one soldier who is here on referral.

“He had a fracture in his right tibia. He had been stabilised at 7 Division medical services and hospital, and he was sent in here. He is from a battalion in Okitipupa.

“As you can see, even after you asked him questions, he said there was nothing that he expected to have been done to him that was not done.”

Dada added that the reduction in the number of patients was commensurated with the fact that the degradation of the insurgents is progressing.

On injured soldiers who were referred to hospitals abroad, he said: “From here, we have some wounded soldiers who have been referred abroad. As I speak to you, seven approvals have been received.

“Those ones should be on their way to India in a few days for treatment as was approved by the COAS. They were wounded in action in the Northeast.

“It therefore beats my imagination that someone could put up such allegation. In recent times, there has not been a situation where those wounded in action have not been taken care of.

“There are thousands of dollars involved in each person’s treatment. There are soldiers who were wounded whose cost of treatment runs into 25 to 40 thousand dollars. If you compute that then you will know that the cost is enormous.

“Then add that to the fact that any personnel who is going for medical treatment abroad must be accompanied with a medical escort, who will also be taken care of by the system.”