By Ajibade Morakinyo Temiorun Photos: Solomon Ekhaiyeme
Health care service, one of the most important social amenities any society needs for effective life management, has been not only been neglected, but has become an eyesore in various hospitals in the nation.
A visit to one of the so called premier general hospitals situated on the Lagos Island, Odan General Hospital, has revealed various cans of worms. The general hospital, established in 1893 as a Military Hospital to render health care services to the British Army, has become a complete shadow of itself.
The hospital, formerly known as African Hospital, was later changed to General Hospital to temper impending riot over discriminatory tendencies against a Sierra-Leonian black man, Mr. Ivor Commies and a white man, Mr. Keith. The hospital was handed over to the Federal Government, but upon creation of Lagos State on the 27th of May, 1967, it was transfered to the Lagos State Government.
Now, about 120 years of existence, the hospital remains an epicentre of ruins as the Boss investigation reveals.
The Boss, after a routine visit to the hospital has unearth unfavourable condition of the hospital in its services to patients, doctors, patients’ relatives among others. This lacklustre atmosphere is experienced in terms of dearth of swift response of doctors to patients in emergency situations, provision sitting space for patients’ relatives, availability of beds for patients, unhygienic toilet facilities for both staff and patients, messed up trash can in reception, abandoned doctors’ residential quarters for over 5 years, critical state of casualty ward, and general dirty environment.
According to a doctor in the hospital, who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to speak, the hospital lacks enough medical workforce to cater for patients, even as there was enormous number of them.
“We have a high rate of patients coming to the hospital. General Hospital, Odan, Lagos happens to be more of a therapy centre, and you have more specialists in every centre taking care of one or two things. We have patients being referred from far places like Epe on a daily bases, and the medical personnel that has to attend to them, seems to be in short fall; not just that, the available space facilities seems not been enough for people that come to get service.
“So, that means that things meant for three persons are used by uncountable number of patients.”
A relative of a patient, who confided in the Boss, as she leaned on a pillar for lack of place to sit, disclosed in tears that the doctors in the hospital really lack care for patients whether dying or living. She narrated her story when she rushed her mother, who was in critical condition to the hospital, saying that one hour after their arrival to the hospital, no one attended to them.
“When we got here on Sunday, they (doctors) didn’t even attend to us at all. I was even crying just to draw attention of the doctors for help, but all they said was ‘madam, we have patients’. I told them that her condition was more critical, at least for first aid. It took like forever before someone asked to go and get drugs,” she narrated.
A visitor to the hospital, who said she runs an NGO, and gave her name as simply Mama B, stated that the hospital’s condition is very appalling.
“I visited the casualty ward and discovered among other rots that the toilet there was a serious matter. I went round the hospital, and couldn’t believe that it’s the same general hospital that we left years back. In fact, I will crave the indulgence of the Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, to please help do something about the hospital,” she said.
She added: “I even volunteered to render some voluntary services there. Please, Governor Ambode that place needs improvement! Maybe the casualty ward should be moved elsewhere or be renovated. The toilet is nothing to write home about.
“There is a building next to the casualty ward, which is said to be the doctors’ residential area, according to an anonymous doctor in the general hospital, that place have been abandoned for almost 5 years. The government needs to remodel that place, so that doctors can have a place to stay, and respond quicker to emergency,” She added, wondering why such a project could be abandoned for so long.