With its equipment in a bad state, trainee doctors are not getting the best of training at the Olabisi Onabanjo Teaching Hospital (OOUTH).
A senior member of staff, who does not want to be named, said students of the institution established in 1986 are forced to make do with more of lectures as there were little or no equipment for practice, especially in the emergency and accidental unit.
A visit to the hospital’s accident and emergency unit where students are supposed to receive training shows many facilities are not in good state. Just as it does not effectively serve training purposes, it also does not serve treatment purposes – leaving patients in danger when emergencies occur.
“At some point we use to cover accident and emergency victims that are brought to the hospital but since the section has not been in place there has been no training for accidental and emergency cases in place,” said the official.
With funding short, the source said the institution has been forced to depend on Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR) for some projects.
Currently, he said the hospital owed N2.7 million for power supply – a development its management find disturbing given the crucial role power plays in its operation.
“Our recurrent maintenance fee is rising. The generators, sphygmomanometer and other equipment are obsolete and dysfunctional and not replaced. Some are irreplaceable for clinical service delivery. Training and research are suffering. We have had to rely on IGR to sustain some projects,” he said.
The poor state of facilities in the teaching hospital has also had its toll on the workforce. Many workers have left in search of greener pastures, while older doctors who retired were not replaced – leaving those remaining forced to work long and laborious hours.
The source said “OOUTH used to be rated as one of the best in the country. The decline was on the part of previous governments. Some of the good hands that we had retired, but were not replaced because the government was looking at the wage bill and other cadres of staff. The subvention was not also forthcoming.”
Corroborating the senior management staff on the poor state of the institution, the Chairman, Association of Resident Doctors, Dr. Femi Ajose said the institution’s problems was due to neglect by past governments over time.
He said many of the hospital’s equipment like brain CT scan, echo cardiography machine, MRI, mobile xray machines, peak flow meter, spirometry, dialysis machines, C-arm for orthopedic cases, operating tables need to be changed.
He also said its operating theatres were not functional.
“Unfortunately, the rot didn’t start during the present administration; neither did it happen when the chief medical director came on board.”
Regarding how the poor state of facilities affected its role as a training institution, Ajose said OOUTH and other public hospitals are unable to retain the best.
He said: “There is no appropriate training for doctors here and a holistic diagnosis for patients. The hospital Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) has also reduced. The exodus won’t stop. The pay is very poor here. For some, it is not the pay, but the quality of life for the doctor and his immediate family. There are also no facilities to train the best of specialists and there is no adequate security even as a life saver.”
Ajose called on Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, to intervene quickly and safe the hospital from collapse.
About 11 days assuming duty on May 29 Abiodun visited the OOUTH and expressed shock about the state of its facilities, describing it as “worse than deplorable.”
“I am putting up a team, after a final report from the Medical Director. I do not see how this place can produce good Doctors. We shall go back to drawing board. The place is substandard. This hospital is in depressing state. We shall look into facilities and personnel”, Abiodun had said after the visit.
Following recommendations by a nine-man committee Administrative Panel that assessed the institution, Abiodun approved the recruitment of 82 resident doctors for the hospital. Nurses, pharmacists, laboratory scientists and other healthcare professionals will also be employed.
The Governor has also ordered the importation of relevant equipment and the rehabilitation of the institution’s facilities, including the 24-year old Daniel Akintunde Modular Theatre whose walls has partially caved in.
Chairman of the Administrative Panel, Dr Yemi Onabowale, who is the Chife Medical Director of Reddington Hospital, Lagos, said the panel visited the College of Medicine, Babcock University and the University College, Ibadan, to learn about best practices that would help in restoring the standard at OOUTH.
Commenting on the recent interventions of the government, Dr Ajose said it was demonstration that the present administration was responsive to the agitations of the doctors.
He said interviews for the employment of the 82 resident doctors were concluded on Thursday, urging the government not to get tired of doing the right thing.
“Government has started doing what we expected them to do. I must say this government is a responsive one. Since the last time we went on strike they have started addressing the matters one by one.
“Before the place was in a mess. The first thing on the recommendation of the panel was recruitment of resident doctors and the interview for the 82 new doctors was concluded today (Thursday). I hope they would not get tired of doing the right thing,” he said.
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