By P. C. Mgbenwelu, This DaY/All Africa
Abuja — At the dawn of the administration of His Excellency Chief Sir Ikedi Ohakim Ksc (Ochinanwata), a close look at the policy of government revealed well thought out programme as contained in the 14 point agenda, christened the "NEW FACE OF IMO". Top among the issues tackled was the issue of "maintenance culture". To this effect, a workshop was organized by Douglas Consult which was targeted at training government workers on the importance of maintenance; stressing that maintenance is an indispensable ingredient for the sustainability of any system. To watchers of government, it was a welcome development.
Orlu people have waited with patient expectation to see this initiative of government of Sir Ikedi Ohakim on maintenance culture to reflect on the Imo State University Teaching Hospital (IMSUTH). It is heart breaking to know that the hospital after 5 years of being formally commissioned, has failed to produce reasonable services of moderately acceptable standards. It has failed to sustain its utility and value. This is a direct function of lack of continuous proper upkeep of the value of the Hospital to achieve operational reliability with maximum design output. The total neglect of the hospital by the present government under Chief Sir Ikedi Ohakim Ksc connotes social injustice. What did Orlu people do to deserve the treatment given to the only major facility sited in their zone?
If government believes that sustainable development can be achieved only when government establishment is adequately maintained, why has she turned her back on Imo State University Teaching Hospital Orlu? Is the establishment neglected so as to punish Orlu people or to make mockery of them? Since May 29th 2007 when this administration took over, not one block has been put on top of the other in this well thought out establishment. The road leading to the Hospital is in total mess. The massive sight under construction, which when completed would house, Radiological Diagnostic center has been over grown by weeds and has formed a habitat and haven for dangerous animals and reptiles. Could the reason for leaving the place unattended to be to scare students away from choosing the school as their medical University of choice? Or is it a long term plan of making the institution stinking filthy Garbage?
Is somebody planning to make the university lose its accreditation?
Structures for special clinic like Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT); ophthalmology; plastic surgery; have been grossly abandoned and Orlu people do not know if that is the current tenet of maintenance culture. We do not know if the present administration believes in continuity, if it does, the Nursing school, Hostels, lecture theaters and IMSUTH staff school, (both primary and secondary) which are almost in completion stages before May 2007, should have been finished by now.
A government which implements policies that are not people oriented, policies which will not benefit the greatest number, is government of exclusion and has no face either old or new. Orlu Zone Consensus Movement (OZCOM) would appreciate it if the government would take a bold step and proscribe the institution instead of hiding under the façade of innocence and credibility. What reasons does the government have to owe the Hospital staff salary for three months? Why should we say we have a functional system when the government cannot pay many months salary of House officers?
Recently in August of 2009, doctors at the teaching hospital went on strike. Their genuine pleas among other things were implementation of 24 months of monetization and 16 months of consolidated tertiary institution salary scale (CONTIS). Government's action towards these doctors has resulted in mass exodus of both consultants and resident doctors to places where they would be better treated and appreciated. They are gradually depleting in number making the institution a place where human and material resources are not put to its optimal use. Their strike actions and exodus may have resulted in preventable loss of lives. We have a government that should take this problem as a priority, but it wouldn't, because Orlu Zone is involved. Cry my beloved people.
The most horrendous of all is the abandonment of facilities procured by the past government under Chief Achike Udenwa to decay. CT scan, Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine (MRI), phloroscopic machines etc, which would have aided diagnosis and treatment of patients as well as training of student doctors and nurses, are lying there uninstalled and unused. Sooner than later they would become out modeled or unfunctional or worse still spoilt. What reason has government got to abandon those equipments? A discerning mind would say, it is to make sure that the only meaningful state government establishment in Orlu Zone does not work.
The government should not be deceived by the attitudes of some political jobbers who keep praising government even when things are wrongly done. The same mouth they use in praising an administration will be used in criticizing it when it is out of power. It is only fair to state things the way they are. Orlu people are not happy over the total decay of infrastructural facilities in the Teaching Hospital.
Resident doctors and Consultants do not have quarters, but elsewhere it is provided. The Medical College which was finished during the last administration and commissioned by President Olusegu Obasanjo on the 23rd of May 2007, has not been equipped. Their offices are not fixed, no steady generator, no recreational facilities, though there are spaces for them. Doctors produced under the condition of students in IMSUTH will either be half baked or be a semblance of the system that produced them. Is this the "New Face"? OZCOM is of the view that it is the right of Orlu zone indeed Imo State to have that teaching hospital in its optimal state. If government would continually abandon the place, we would not have choice but to say that the institution suffers as a result of political gambit.
Orlu people are too rich to be pawns on the political chess board. They are too intelligent to be ridiculed. They are too numerous to be ignored. They are too powerful to be toyed with. The government is advised to score a good political point by doing things aright in IMSUTH, if not, Orlu people will have no choice than to believe that Orlu zone can only survive if it is in the hands of God.