Daily Trust (Abuja)

5 February 2013

Nigeria: Agony in Kaduna 20-Bed General Hospital

Kaduna — With 20 beds, the general hospital is meant to take care of 35 communities in Chikun local government area of Kaduna State and beyond.

Located in Sabon Tasha, opposite the main gate of Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) staff quarters, the hospital attends to all categories of patients. Patients are cramped together in the same ward irrespective of their ailments.

There are only two wards and five doctors. But patients troop into the hospitals in their numbers, ranging from women in labour and other emergency and non emergency cases. There is no alternative nearby. The pressure on the staff and facilities is enormous.

"Few patients are admitted in the hospital because there are only about 20 bed spaces to accommodate surgical cases, children, accident victims, and women in labour and so on. All are kept in the two available wards," a senior personnel who craved anonymity told Daily Trust.

She said: "If it were a comprehensive health clinic, one would understand. I've not seen a general hospital that attends to hundreds of patients daily with only two wards."

Bala Ibrahim, a patient who spoke to our reporter at the hospital said: "The hospital has five doctors. And number of nurses and other health personnel is insufficient to handle the many patients that troop in on daily basis."

It was gathered from an insider that Sabo General Hospital has departments of Nursing, Pharmacy, Laboratory, Records, Out Patient Department (OPD), X-ray department, dental and ICAP department that takes care of people living with HIV/AIDS.

"Every day, over 20 people require admission in the hospital but the bed spaces aren't just enough," a health union leader told our reporter.

He said: "Thousands of women have given birth in this hospital. But there is always no space to admit them for further check-ups. Considering the location of this hospital and the number of people that troop in, government ought to have expanded this place. At least there is vast land for expansion."

Some patients and residents who spoke to Daily Trust said in spite of the huge number of patients that visit the hospital on daily basis, the personnel always do their best to ensure that they are all attended to.

A patient from Agwan Bulus in Sabon Tasha, Amos Timothy said: "This place is a highly populated area. The government should come here and see the number of people that troop here on daily basis. This hospital really needs expansion if it should maintain the name 'General Hospital'. With the huge population it is supposed to cater for, it poses a big danger.

"It is clear that the hospital lacks facilities to take care of the people, especially wards and offices. You can see dozens of pregnant women and scores of other patients. Sometime, if the Medical Director is around, you will see him personally attending to patients," Timothy said.

Samuel Bbawa, the village head of Angwan Makama, where the hospital is located, was away when our correspondent visited. But his aged mother, Lami Bawa, said they have been praying that government expands the General Hospital to serve the large population it is meant to cater for.

"Many patients come to this hospital; some seat on the flow while many others stand. There is land available and if additional wards, offices and consulting rooms are built, it will help a lot," the woman said.

Another resident, Yakubu John said that the hospital has no paediatric ward in spite of the fact that many children are taken for treatment every day.

"This is where I bring my children when they are sick but they don't have space to admit them," he said.

For Sule Mamman who brought his brother for surgical operation from Agwan Boro, the General Hospital has good medical personnel, but he called on the government to consider expanding the facilities.

The Chief Medical Director of the Hospital was said to be on leave when Daily Trust visited, but a staff told our reporter that they have no problem of personnel. He said the hospital only needs more structures and equipment.

He said: "We have massive patronage on daily basis but there are only two wards with few bed spaces at the moment. However, there is effective service delivery.

"Our biggest challenge is the number of patients that we have to attend to everyday. We have trained personnel but most of them don't have offices. So our number one problem is inadequate facilities," he added.

Speaking further, he said, "The record office you are seeing here should have a separate place where documents are kept safe. But as you can see, all the staff and the documents are in the same place.

"Also, there is tremendous pressure on us. Sometimes, a medical doctor attends to about 100 people a day. So we need infrastructure, personnel and good remuneration too, because staffs leave whenever they get a better job offer elsewhere."

Kaduna State Commissioner for Health Turaki Kalik said his ministry was aware of the problems associated with the hospital, adding that adequate arrangement have been made in the 2013 budget to solve it.

"In this year's budget, adequate provision has been made for the general hospital in Sabon Tasha. So, people should wait and see what comes up after the passage of the budget. We have made provisions for additional wards.

"We also have some projects that are ongoing; for example, the construction of laboratories. If you go down the hospital, you will see work going on. Our only limitation is lack of space. But the ministry has already taken decision to make sure that most of the problems are taken care of. It's not only Sabon Tasha general hospital, but about eight general hospitals in the state are going to be renovated this year," he added.

Meanwhile scores of nursing mothers and women in labour, as well as other patients that rely on the hospital are praying that the budget will be implemented to the fullest.

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