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Uyo University Teaching Hospital wants to see Akwa Ibom health insurance expanded

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The Management of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, (UUTH) Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has stressed the need for the expansion of the Health Insurance coverage in the state to reduce the financial burden of out-of-pocket payment by patients of UUTH.

It also appealed for a State Government subvention to be used to cater for emergency care of indigent patients in the hospital, decrying how the present Accident and Emergency complex is too small to cope with the emergency cases usually seen in the hospital.

The Chief Medical Director of the health institution, Prof. EmemAbasi Bassey, disclosed this while presenting a welcome address during the commissioning of the renovated and equipped Accident and Emergency Block funded by the Nigeria LNG Hospital Support Programme phase 2 in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital on Tuesday.

The CMD noted that a major gap, still obvious and identifiable by the hospital management, is the failure in its quest to become a regional centre of medical excellence in its capacity to respond to clinical emergencies because of overstretched equipment.

“UUTH is usually the first and at times the only point of call in many cases of major Road Traffic Accidents, Medical and Surgical Emergencies in the state and our capacity to handle these large numbers of cases is overstretched. It is on record that there was a proposal by ExxonMobil Ltd to build a Trauma Centre in the hospital and a groundbreaking was done by the then State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, in 2017 but until the present day, the Trauma Centre is yet to be built. The hospital community is extremely grateful to the Nigeria LNG for a promise kept.

“The UUTH is presently the only Federal Government owned health institution in Akwa Ibom State and was initially established as the Akwa Ibom State Specialist Hospital in 1994, it metamorphosed into the Federal Medical Centre Uyo in 1997, eventually becoming a teaching hospital in 1998. It is important to note that until recently the infrastructural development within the institution had not kept pace with its transition, putting a lot of pressure on the existing facilities. This Accidents and Emergency facility was completed and put to use in 2009,” he recalled.

He however expressed deep appreciation to NLNG, for starting and completing the renovation and equipping project within just one year.

“The conversation for the inclusion of UUTH Uyo in the second phase of the NLNG Hospital Support programme began late in 2021 and after a series of visits, meetings and technical reviews, the MoU was finally signed between the UUTH and the NLNG on the 20th February 2023 in Abuja. Actual implementation began in April 2023 after completion of the procurement process.

“This project has been made possible by the provision of the equivalent of 500,000 USD (N 282,914,958,74) by the NLNG, a considerable sum of money has also been committed by the hospital management for the project for the equipping of the Laboratory unit, Radiology Suite amongst others.

“The existing building was totally renovated with the roof, ceiling, doors, electrical and mechanical fittings changed. The floor finishing was done, and a new theatre recovery room and new patient toilets were constructed, and the entire plumbing system overhauled. Oxygen pipping was done in the critical care and theatre suites as well as the recovery rooms and 2 oxygen manifolds installed. Modern sophisticated medical and surgical equipment have also been supplied, installed and tested, and offices and call rooms furnished.

“The Accidents and Emergency complex can now function as a mini trauma centre and consists of an Ambulance Bay, Triage section with an examination room and cubicles for minor surgical procedures, a Critical care section which is a High Dependency Unit, a 16 bedded observation ward, 2 consulting rooms, nursing stations, medical records library, Doctors lounge, call rooms, offices, billing and payment unit and a plaster room.

“The facility also has 2 well-equipped theatre rooms and recovery room, a Radio-diagnostic unit with a mobile X Ray, ultrasound scan and a 12-channel echocardiogram. It also has a well-equipped laboratory unit with a blood bank and a pharmacy unit. It is our desire to install a CT-scan as well as fully digitalize the operations in the near future.

“The facility is equipped with a 15 KVA solar inverter for uninterrupted power supply and the hospital has also acquired a 100kVA generator as backup for the facility,” the CMD explained.

He maintained that when fully operational, the one stop-shop will enhance and shorten the time for emergency response to save lives, which has been a major challenge the hospital usually faces and the inability of patients to assess emergency care and to pay for services.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the NLNG, Dr Philip Mshelbila, said the gesture was a demonstration of the NLNG’s resolve to save lives in Nigeria, even as it presents a clear message of what is possible when private and public sectors work together for the betterment of the people.

He said the focus of the oil and gas giant was on the pursuit of interventions, initiatives or experiences that make life meaningful for Nigerians grounded upon the four pillars of education, economic empowerment, infrastructure and health.

“Yes, health. That is the basis for being here today. A healthy nation is the foundation for a wealthy nation, hence successes in other areas of development are anchored on sound health. It is indeed my belief that today’s commissioning of this renovated Accident and Emergency Unit opens new vistas for sustainable growth of Akwa Ibom state and indeed Nigeria.

“We all know the importance of a world class Accident and Emergency Care Centre in a growing urban centre like Uyo.

“The Board of Directors of Nigeria LNG Limited approved the Hospital Support Initiative in 2021, a National CSR Health Support Program with the objective to boost healthcare delivery system following the COVID-19 pandemic. The program consists of health intervention projects across 12 federal university teaching hospitals across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria and in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

“This is the first project being commissioned under phase two of this programme. We have completed and commissioned projects in six hospitals in phase one of the project. The hospitals are University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada; University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin and Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos. Others are Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano; Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Yenagoa and University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar,” the CEO expressed.

He commended the Project Steering Committee for abiding strictly with the MoU signed between the company and University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, saying it has ensured that the project was executed on time and according to budget.

He expressed the hope that the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital will put the facilities to use in saving lives of Nigerians, even beyond the confines of Akwa Ibom.

The state governor, Pastor Umo Eno, mentioned that his administration is particular about the health of those resident in Akwa Ibom, hence many health facilities that have been developed within his few months as governor of the state.

The Governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prince Enobong Uwah, said Akwa Ibom State Government is ready to partner the UUTH in project execution, irrespective of the fact that it is a Federal Government institution.

The event witnessed a groundbreaking ceremony of a one-storey expansion of the Accident & Emergency block project to complement the existing structure. A planned renovation and equipping as well as expansion of the Children’s Emergency unit to cater for paediatric emergencies was also requested.

Attached:

Pic of the SSG, Akwa Ibom State, Prince Enobong Uwah, CMD UUTH, Prof. EnoAbasi Bassey and the MD/CEO, NLNG, during the commissioning of the renovated and equipped Accident and Emergency Block funded by the Nigeria LNG Hospital Support Programme phase 2 in Uyo.

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