By Abubakar Yusuf
In June 2017,a renowned expert of Obstetrics and Gynaecology/ surgeon, Professor Bissallah Ahmed Ekele was appointed by the federal government as the new Chief Medical Director(CMD),and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of University of Abuja Teaching Hospital(UATH), located in the heart of Gwagwalada-Abuja.
Not long after his assumption of duty,the academic physician did not live any stone unturned, to chart a new direction for the over three decades hospital, that had outlived all it’s facilities in the area of Manpower,Personnel, Medical equipment,structures and a highly demoralised senior Medical officers ,for obvious reasons of lack of motivation, from both the handlers and by extension existing policies.
Professor Bissallah determined to achieve results within the shortest possible time, swing into action to redress the existing anomaly, that had turned to a normal phenomenon, not in tandem with the prevailing Health sector developement.
He priortised staff development through training and re-training particularly in the core area of Medical sector like Medicine, Nursing, Laboratory and other additional areas like administration, that served as supporting department of the Medical institution.
The Chief Medical Director ensured that Doctors and Nurses update their learning status to keep abreast with the prevailing medical innovations, and be able to compete favourably with other colleauges in both within and foreign countries.
He attracted the recruitment of senior Medical personel across other Medical institutions within and outside the country,to encourage,learning, research and foray into other new areas.
This is in addition to systematic replacement of vacant positions within the Medical and non Medical areas of the Hospital,to address the work load being witness by staffers in the institution.
As a Professor of Medicine,Dr Ekele’s efforts also serves as veritable tool to the activities of College of Medicine/Health sciences of the Univeristy of Abuja,in the area of synergy and collaboration to achieve health for all,along with the School of Nursing and Midwifery,including that of post-basic programs under his supervision.
The Chief Executive Officer(CEO),also made the process of internship in the institution highly compepitive and purely on merit,along with other areas of temporary engagements reserve for professionals and inline with the requirements of the Health establishment.
The helmsman encourages research in areas yearning for Medical discoveries,as well as develop a new template of ressolving emergency Medical attention, both to out patients and other patients on admission that deserve urgent attention.
Professor Ekele gradual integration through computerisation of the entire system of the hospital and gradual connection to a seamless internet network from the Clinics,to the Medical records, Departments and Payments, had reduced to the barest minimum rampant sharp practices in the payment system,monitoring of patient records online, Pharmacy and other activities of the health institution that had being modernised.
This situation also encourages transparency in all areas of the Hospital,fiscal discipline and disciplinary action for erring staff, who indulged in any untoward acts,as it has also brought about checks and balances.
This has reduced to the barest minimum many activities of corrupt elements within the system, and brought about loyalty,job satisfaction and dedication to duty.
It is on record that the Pharmacy Department, Medical records ,the new Trauma centre, Finance/Payments and all other financial transactions are already connected online and being monitored to discourage fraud, indisputable records, with the system installer company on ground, to gradually connect,upgrade all the activities of the health institution in a simplified form .
To bring modesty to bare on the activities of the institution, Professor Ekele embarked on massive accreditation and re-accreditation of medical programs,renovation of all the wards in the hospital, including the main Adminstrative block housing the management of the Health institution, beautification of the premises,erection of modern parks for vehicles of staffs and the Hospital,this in addition to a policy of gradual replacement of obsolete equipment in the private rooms of all the wards.
Aside massive renovation of all the wards,the remodeling of all the walk ways in the hospital is on going,as well as ensuring that all the new equipment provided in all departments are closely monitored by rejigging the private security outfit of the institution, through reading of riot act, as well as simplified their jobs through mass lightning of all the environment both with AEDC services, and that of a well installed solar panel lights, that littered every strategic places, in the premises of the Hospital.
Professor Ekele embarked on construction of new Accident and Emergency unit(A&E) block,completed for occupation to address the prevailing pressure on the current one,new Dialysis department,constructed a new hostel for senior Medical officers and House officers, ensure regular water supply both to Staffs and the Hospital ,as well as ongoing construction of a well thought out Psychiatric buiding/department in the hospital.
This is different from the construction and completion of a building housing the current global health emergency of COVID-19,that had ravaged the world with Nigeria not an exception, as isolation centre for the pandemic.
The encouraging management of COVID-19 pandemic by the handlers of the Hospital, has spur both Goverrment and non- Govermental organisations, to focus more attention in providing the necessary assistance to the Health institution,which had led to non- escalation of patients of the dreaded pandemic in the Federal Capital Territory, and it’s environs.
Professor Ekele’s determination to overhaul the entire fabrics of the over three century health institution is not negotiable, in view of his antecedents and records of good performance, three years at the helms of affairs of the leadership of the Health institution.
His performance did not ignore the completion of the ongoing projects in the institution,as he ensured the completion and utilisation to avoid waste.
No doubt,three years on, the morale of the staffs, which include both the Medical and non Medical personel is on the top pedestal, and with optimum perfomance in all areas.
Professor Ekele will be serving out his first term in the next one year,but the developmental activities on going and on the drawing board, will require another term, to fully bring to fruition his concept of mass re-direction of the Health institution yearning for more people oriented attention.
Abubakar Yusuf writes from Abuja