Monday, 25 January, 2021

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We Want To Transform NAUTH To A Center Of Medical Tourism In Nigeria -Dr Joe Ugboaja


The Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH) Nnewi, Dr Joseph Ugboaja says the management is passionately committed to tranforming the hospital to a center of medical tourism in Nigeria. The CMAC, a Gynaecologist stated this during his weekly briefing with media practitioners.

The extract:

What is the Progressive Union really doing at the permanent site of NAUTH?

The Anambra Progressive union, an assembly of public spirited Anambrarians both here and in diaspora is building and equipping a standard treatment center for the hospital at the permanent site.
This is as a result of the magnitude of the ongoing pandemic and the dire need to improve the capacity of the hospital in managing Covid-19 cases. Recall that at present, we have just 3 – bedded Isolation center that is grossly inadequate to handle the suspected patients presenting for management.

What is the implication of the project for NAUTH?

At completion, the center will provide about 40 beds including private rooms and ICU; will be well equipped to handle severe cases of Covid-19 and will provide space for our staff to express themselves under standard environment.
It will also enhance our capacity to participate in global and local research in the area of Covid-19 infection. In summary, the center will greatly boost our capacity to manage emerging infectious diseases of public health importance and limit the attendant mortality and morbidity.

How will this affect the host community?

The primary host community is the hospital community, I hope you know that. This comprises the workers, patients and visitors. There is no doubt that the risk of infection is there. However, because we have built a structure that will identify, isolate and manage any suspected case of covid-19, this risk is very minimal. But its our call as health workers to treat these patients irrespective of their condition and so, necessarily we must attend to them. The only thing is to ensure that we are well protected with the right PPEs while doing this and to ensure that all potential cases are identified and isolated, using our triaging and treatment algorithms.

What is level of infrastructural development at the moment at NAUTH’s permanent site?

Work is ongoing at the permanent site with the buildings at various stages of completion. The board and management are making frantic efforts to see that we move to the permanent site this year. We are actually hoping to commence phased movement to the permanent site before the end of this year. Of course, as soon as the progressives’ Isolation and treatment center is completed and commissioned, activities will commence at the site.

What’s the level of support you are getting from private and corporate organizations especially Nnewi people in that regard?

We have many structures in the temporary site built and donated by prominent sons of Nnewi. These include Dr Cletus Ibeto, Chief Louis Onwugbenu, Engr Ajulu Uzodike, Chief Humphrey Ngonadi etc.
We remain very appreciative of their gesture and look forward to their usual assistance in the development of the permanent site.

As per the permanent site, we have not had much help outside the center being constructed by the Progressives. This is the reason, I am emphasizing stakeholders’ engagement, going forward. I have repeatedly mentioned that expecting the federal government to provide all the needed funding for the development of the permanent site, to me, is not the right strategy. We must approach public spirited Anambrarians to come to our aid.

At present, the Government, realizing that providing good and quality healthcare for the people is a collective responsibility, encourages partnership with the community stakeholders and the private sector.

We are privileged to have prominent men and women from our environment who can be approached and convinced to build and donate structures at the permanent site. But, we need to mobilize them to enlist their support and cooperation. I’m sure, if we approach them appropriately, they will assist us with infrastructural development at the permanent site.

What’s your vision for NAUTH?

Our vision is to build the foundation for transforming NAUTH to top 5 Teaching hospitals in the country.
We want to transform the hospital to a center of medical tourism in Nigeria. This requires investment in infrastructure, equipment and human capital. This cannot happen at the current site. We are thinking of a hospital with about 1,500 bed capacity as against 500 bed capacity we have currently. A hospital that will completely run on the HMIS. The project requires space and luckily, the development of the permanent site is ongoing.

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