The care of human life and happiness, and
not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of government ?
Thomas Jefferson


Poor state of health is not
what any sane individual pray or wish for. There has never been any recorded
instance when anybody deliberately prayed to be assailed by whatever manner of
body ailment. We all want to maintain sound health at all times. That is why
prayers are daily offered by people of all races and religions to remain in
good health.


Even at that, mankind today
is being decimated by different kinds of diseases. Millions of lives are lost
every year due to the ravaging onslaught of diverse diseases, which has been on
the increase since the beginning of the 20th century. Every now and
then, new intractable strains of known diseases emerge while totally strange
ones are discovered. In the last few years, we have heard of the ?Ebola? which
was discovered in the eastern part of Africa,
the ?Bird Flu? and most recently the ?Swine Flu? which is gradually becoming a
nightmare in some countries. Many countries, including Nigeria are on
high alert, to  arrest any possible
threat to the health of their citizens as a result of the upsurge in reported
cases of what is gradually turning into a global pandemic. 


Billions of dollars are
earmarked and yearly spent by developed nations, in an effort to safeguard the
health of its citizenry. The United Nations Organization (UNO) through one of
its organs, World Health Organization (WHO) has relentlessly been championing
the imperative of health for all, across the globe. Many other government and
Non-government orgainsations including individuals have made notable efforts in
their attempt to see that everybody on earth have access to good health-care
delivery. Various Foundations have been established to contribute to
health-care delivery especially to people in remote parts of the world.


Governments at various
levels in Nigeria
have to some degrees made provisions for health-care delivery. Teaching
Hospitals, Specialist Hospitals, Central
Hospitals, General
Hospitals are sited in major cities and towns across the country, while health
centers are located in many rural communities. All these have gone a long way
to meeting the health needs of Nigerians. There are however widespread argument
that what government has put in place is not commensurate with the health needs
of the populace.


The people of Ika are
however lucky to have a Central Hospital located in Agbor with a handful of General
and Government Hospitals in places like Abavo,
Owa-Alero, Umunede, Agbor-Alidinma etc. There are also Health Centers in
majority of the villages in the locality. All of these have impacted on health-care
delivery in Ikaland.


However, there are some ugly
experiences, which a lot of persons within the locality have had in the cause
of seeking for medical attention at these hospitals. The Agbor hospital which
was transformed into a central hospital from general hospital during the James
Ibori era, have in recent years received a lot of attention from the state
government, particularly when the current Secretary to the State Government SSG
Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa was in-charge of the state Ministry of Health. However, these
gestures from the government does not seem to be acknowledged by those who are
shouldered with the responsibility of managing these hospitals.


A lot of persons have
narrated the inhuman treatments meted out to them by some of the staff in these
hospitals, especially in handling of emergency cases, where patients on danger
list are left unattended until relations have gone through the rigours of
obtaining cards and other unnecessary formalities, instead of giving the
desired medical attention first. That, in my own assessment is against medical
ethics, that favours the saving of life against monetary consideration.


It is also widely held by a
lot of persons that some of the nurses devote a great deal of time telling
anecdotes and gossips. They talk harshly to patients as against handling them
with the care they need at that point in time. That is not to say that there
are no good, caring and dedicated nurses and doctors in these hospitals. We
have a good number of them, as attested to by very many  persons who have had cause to visit or be
admitted at the hospitals. The point being made however is that some of them
exhibit highly irresponsible and uncomplimentary attitude towards those who go
there to seek medical attention  


The issue that is of great
concern to majority of residents is the poor environmental condition of the
hospitals in particular the Central
Hospital. Recently, I
visited the female ward, with a friend to see a mutual friend who was on
admission at the hospital. What we observed was an eye sore and indeed very
nauseating. Almost every part of the ward was covered with dirt. Infact we
could not stay long because of the offensive odour we were perceiving. We could
not help voicing out our displeasure over the unpleasant condition of an
environment that is supposed to be kept neat at all times. Since that
experience, I have always wondered how people could get well in an environment
so unkempt and capable of engendering ill-health. 


Stories have been told of
how some doctors in these hospitals, more often than not, refer patients to
their private hospitals and clinics instead of treating them at the hospital.
It is very unethical and unprofessional. Doctors who are involved in such shady
deals should try to desist from it. They must realize that they were employed
by government to give the best of their medical knowledge for the benefit of
the people, especially the poor folks.


Government should also do
regular monitoring of the activities of hospital staff. Any staff found wanting
should be brought to book without hesitation, as health is very important to
national development. The precious lives of residents of Ika should not
continue to be compromised because of the lacksidical attitude of some hospital
staff who have failed to realize that working in a health institution is more
of a calling


Hospital staff who have
formed the repulsive and condemnable habit of treating patients with disdain
should know that every human life, no matter the social status of the individual,
is precious. They should therefore do their job, for which they are paid, with
the highest level of responsibility and commitment.


Those incharge of the
maintance of hospitals should equally see to it that these institutions are
kept neat and decent at all times. It is not good for staff and patients to be
subjected to operate in such dirty environments. We all know that a dirty
environment contributes a great deal to ill-health. As they say, cleanliness is
next to Godliness.          

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