Andy Essiet, Calabar
The University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) has been upgraded with the state of the art equipment worth over N940 million.
Briefing some newsmen in Calabar yesterday on the activities of the hospital, the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Professor Ikpeme Ikpeme said the equipment now in the UCTH which was replicated in nine other teaching hospitals in the country is enough to stop medical tourism abroad as there are competent medical personnel to handle challenging health conditions.
He said, “thankfully the Federal Government has done well in terms of releasing the allocation and we have used them to acquire this equipment. A total of N940M with N345M for the intensive care unit (ICU), N370M was released to procure the Molecular Lab, about N140M for the PPS and another N100M was provided for Isolation Centre equipment.
“So it was specific, it was targeted, and we didn’t have the attitude to do what we like. You chose the equipment you wanted. The structure you wanted for within that fixed amount that you needed”.
Ikpeme said “the Isolation Centre, the ICU and the Molecular Lab all come from COVID-19 funds the federal government made available and we used them to get these structures
“Beyond COVID-19, take the ICU for instance, though, COVID-19 is specific, we have done what we have done, we have developed an elementary ICU which can take care of any emergencies. The Isolation Centres also serve cases beyond COVID-19. Anything that needs Isolation we handle as we have admitted many people here who were not COVID-19”.
According to him, ” we have the Direct Digital Conventional X-ray (Imagery) machine. Now you don’t need to buy a lot of film cassettes as before. This is easier in such a way that once the X-ray is taken, you view it there at the work-station displayed. You just watch the X-ray appear directly on the screen. We have several X-ray investigation processes.
“We use this machine to carry out X-rays in the internal structure. Like the body has a brain tumour. At UCTH our services are very affordable We have a 10-bedded ICU ward which means we can manage up to 10 patients at a time. The Federal Government gave the same amount of money to all the Teaching Hospitals in the federation. So what we have here is also duplicated in other states…This surgery machine is specifically for special surgery. This type of surgery can take up to 10-pints of blood. Because it is a delicate surgery so it must be carefully carried out. So all these facilities are beyond COVID-19” .
On the allegations of embazling COVID-19 funds, said “if we embezzled the COVID-19 funds, I don’t think you could have seen the ICU, I am not sure you could have seen the Molecular Laboratory here. I am not sure you would have seen the Isolation Centre. We still have the PPEs we got from COVID-19 funding in 2020 that we are still using. That means we have got enough. The issue of embezzling the COVID-19 funds is not true. We didn’t embezzle any COVID-19 funds… The modality is that you have your basic needs in a pack. We encourage you to pay for that pack. So you don’t go around to buy one thing or the other. We are trying to run a patient-friendly system. We are also renovating our family medicine to be a one-stop shop”.
Commenting on brain drain, he said, “”it is an international problem. It is not only in UCTH. Professionals would always want to migrate to where they think that pasture is greener. I can’t tell the exact number, but some of them have left. One of the things to do is create an enabling environment for people to stay and work in. You have come you have seen, you have gone around you have seen what we have done. Anybody who is a Radiologist might want to work. Any intending ICU should be able to work in ICU. Something that we have not done before we are doing them now’.