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    Wednesday, May 24, 2023

    FG Inaugurates NAUTH’s Permanent Site

    With the right vision, dedication and commitment, dreams can turn to reality. This was the case of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, Anambra State, as the Federal Government inaugurated projects to mark the full commencement of medical services at the permanent site located at Akamili, a central area donated by three communities of Nnewi, Oraifite and Ozubulu, all in Anambra State.

    Established by the Anambra State of Nigeria ( ASN) Edict Number10 of 1988 and subsequent takeover by the Federal Government by Decree 68 of September 10, 1922, as a Federal Teaching Hospital, NAUTH has operated since then from its temporary structure.

    Five chief medical directors who served at the helm in the teaching hospital all tried but could not realise the vision of moving to the permanent structure but rather contended with limited space and some dilapidated structures at the temporary site.

    We gathered that when the sixth chief medical director of the tertiary health institution, Dr. Joseph Ugboaja, came on board, he made a vow that the permanent site must become a reality, reasoning that his strategic vision of repositioning the hospital to be in tune with a 21st century state-of-the art institution could not be realised in the temporary site.

    Ugboaja, who shared the same vision as the NAUTH board’s chairman, Chief Ezekiel Afunkoyo, went to work. Pooling the necessary contacts and hard work,  the 30-year-old jinx was broken and the permanent site became a reality with the provision of several buildings, infrastructure and medical equipment within two years.

    During the ceremony to open the place last weekend, many who knew the physical condition of the permanent site before now as vast hectares of land with thick bush surrounding one lone uncompleted building were surprised to see a totally transformed modern hospital with many new architectural masterpieces.

    Afunkoyo, who spoke like a fulfilled man during the inauguration, recalled that the traditional ruler of Nnewi, Igwe Kenenth Orizu, had passionately pleaded with the board during their courtesy call to his palace years ago to make necessary efforts to move the hospital to the permanent site and make it functional in his lifetime.

    He expressed satisfaction that the legendary monarch’s wish and earnest desire had been granted

    “The journey to today’s event was a long and tortuous one, starting from insisting that the right things were done to the battle and struggle for the leadership of the hospital. Since its inception, more than 30 years ago, the hospital has operated from its temporary site, which has very limited space for proper patient care and future expansion and, as a result, lots of patients do not find space for admission and management and are forced to seek care elsewhere. This is the reason we resolved as a board to do everything possible to move the hospital to the permanent site, a decision that has taken a strong root today,” he said.

    Ugboaja, in a speech titled “NAUTH, making of a medical mega city,” described the inauguration as the culmination of years of planning, designing and construction, which has resulted in the creation of state-of-the-art medical facilities that will enable them to provide world-class care to patients and facilitate the achievement of their vision to make NAUTH rank among the best hospitals in Africa.

    He said: “Our new hospital buildings and the beautiful environment represent more than just physical structures. They are a testament to our commitment to excellence in healthcare delivery, to the tireless efforts of our staff and to the unwavering support of our partners and communities.  The buildings themselves have been designed with the utmost care and attention to details to ensure that they are functional, efficient and welcoming to all who visit.

    “But the true value of these buildings lies in what they represent, the potential to save and improve the lives of countless individuals who will walk through our doors seeking medical care. They represent a safe haven for the sick and the vulnerable, a place where they can find comfort, compassion and hope in the face of adversity.”

    Ugboaja also recognised and appreciated the efforts of the office of the senior special assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for infrastructure support to the hospital, efforts of other individuals like the director, Budget Office of the Federation, Pastor Ben Akabueze, and businessman, Chief Cletus Ibeto.

    He disclosed that Ibeto built many projects at the hospital’s old site and has also committed to the provision of 10 buildings at the permanent site as staff quarters.

    He said he recognised the fact that, in the face of dwindling government resources, increasing cost of doing business and diminishing power of the patients to pay bills owing to unfavaourable macroeconomic environment, there was need for partnerships and collaborations in order to build the needed infrastructure and acquire the needed skills to actualise its vision.

    Shortly before cutting the tape to inaugurate the permanent site and various structures in the hospital, the senior special assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire,  expressed delight that Anambra people have benefited from President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to the September 2015 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) where the  2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted.

    She said the facilities at NAUTH’s permanent site were among many other healthcare facilities that were provided, rehabilitated, remodelled, constructed or equipped by the office of the SSA to the President on SDGs across different states of the federation.

    She said Mr. President made commitments to continue to take Nigeria out of poverty and this has been extended to the new administration to do the same so that all can achieve prosperity together.

    She noted that NAUTH was in a state of disrepair years back but the federal government is now poised to change the narrative through the resolve to provide new facilities in the hospital with the new accident and emergency building, the renal building, the new ward complex in Block A and B and another 100-bed mother-and-child centre in Block B and C.

    The SSA to the President pledged continuity with the new administration in the country to ensure that ongoing works will be completed and new ones initiated.

    The Anambra State Governor, Chukwuma Soludo, represented by the  Commissioner for Health, Dr. Afam Obidike, expressed excitement over the developments at NAUTH, noting that such was in line with the commitment of his administration to end medical tourism.

    He praised Ugboaja’s vision to not only make the permanent site of NAUTH workable but  also putting  facilities in place like the  new  oxygen plant  built in the hospital which he said  will save cost, save lives and promote efficiency in healthcare services.

    “We thank the President for this historic event, which started over two decades ago. Buildings, equipment and structure do not make a hospital, what makes a hospital is the quality of services being rendered and we will continue to partner with relevant institutions to ensure enhanced service delivery,” the  governor said.

    Facilities inaugurated at the permanent site included the accident and emergency building, paediatric emergency complex, special treatment ventre, specialty clinic and its landscaping, molecular laboratory, mother and childcare building, radiology building, general outpatient department building, oxygen plants, trauma centre and road network, among others.

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