The Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, B.M.S.H, has literarily become the rallying point and flagship for Governor Chibuike Amaechi’s health reforms policies in Rivers State. The reasons for the prime attention the hospital had so far received from the government are not far-fetched.
Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital remains one of the most patronised public health institutions in the state. The relocation of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) to its new site also swelled the level of public patronage which the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital now receives.
Distance and traffic difficulties put emergency cases sent to the new UPTH at death risk. The Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital therefore, becomes the only central and easily accessible hospital. Consequently, facilities are stretched to the limits. The situation is overwhelmed and the authorities are not ignorant of the new development.
Apart from giving the hospital a quantum leap over the burden of infrastructural decay and lack of equipment, the government had also moved to solve the acute accommodation problem faced in the hospital.
Dr. Bernard Aprioku, Chief Medical Director of Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, disclosed during an interview with The Weekend Tide that, the Government had made plans to build a bigger mansion at the present site of the hospital to alleviate the problem of accommodation.
Dr. Aprioku, who moved in as CMD of the hospital on adhoc arrangement said within the past two years, BMSH had been a major beneficiary of Governor Amaechi’s health reforms policies.
Today, the hospital now boasts of a modular theatre and other modern equipment and some of the major operations referred abroad at a huge cost are now handled by the hospital.
“For each patient flown abroad, it used to be about N7million, but here we do it at a maximum of about N800,00.00. More people can now gain from the exercise. Foreign experts are brought in to work with our people, by this our people can improve”.
“Last year, the governor was proud of this place he allowed his own son to be operated upon here. The press asked him why he didn’t fly the boy abroad, but, he said, he had confident in the health personnel here. I was one of the participants that took part in the operation”.
As a mark of gratitude and special anniversary gift to the Governor over his second year in office, the CMD said the first s et of modular theatre operations will commence today.
According to the CMD, another area where the Governor had done so well is in his anti-malaria crusade. Dr Aprioku is particularly impressed about the resolve of the Rivers State Government to bring in Larviscide from Cuba to wipe out malaria.
Describing malaria as an impregnable disease, he said, the government would have recorded a milestone in the preservation of the health of its people if it can wipe out malaria.
The CMD also thumbed up for the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr Sampson Parker, for his vision in manpower development and trainings of medical health manpower.
The CMD, who acknowledged the challenges of manpower in the system said the recent recruitment of 200 medical doctors in the state would go a long way to solve the problem of manpower.
According to the CMD, the services of retired health personnel, who are still capable will be employed on contract to assist in building up a formidable system.
“They have to supervise the young people who are also expected to tap from their wealth of experience”.
Apart from government funding and sponsorship, the hospital also enjoys some degree of assistance from corporate organizations and concerned individuals. “We have had donations from indomie, they bought a brand new incubator for premature babies. Other concerned people also donate anonymously.
Dr. Aprioku will also want multinational companies operating in the state to patronize the hospital, especially in industrial relations.
He said the burns unit of the hospital was quite functional to handle cases of mass casualties in burns to which the oil companies are prone.
The social welfare department in the state had also been useful to the hospital in terms of augmenting the economic needs of patient. With directives from the commissioner, that no patient should be sent away, the CMD said provision had been made for less privileged patients whose bills are paid by the Rivers State government.
Another major area of concern and attention in the hospital is ante-natal health-care programmes. Statistics show that the hospital received a maximum of 150 new pregnant mothers daily. To meet up the challenges, about nine consultant gynaecologists (fellows) are employed to attend to the teeming cases of ante-natal care.
To meet up the needs of the patients, the CMD said, the drugs are subsidized and discounted by the government, and it is the responsibilities of the chief pharmarcist and himself to ensure that the drugs are not out of stock.
On the possibility of fake medical doctors, taking advantage of the recent recruitment into the state civil service, the CMD debunked such fears. “It is very easy to catch a fake health personnel. It is a practical thing. If you come as doctor, you have to prescribe drugs. If you prescribe nonsense, every person will see it. We have caught them here before”.
“Some who came with fake papers and we reported them to the right authorities. The Ministry has its own check mechanisms; the Nigerian Medical Association has its own device of checking quackery in all fields of medicine, laboratory services, pharmacy, among others. We don’t condone quackery in medicine. It is not just a crime but a sin against humanity.
In medicine there is no adjournment, court can adjourn, nobody dies, but in our case, if you adjourn, you adjourn to the mortuary”. Dr. Aprioku is also a war canoe chief in his ancestral home of Okrika.