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Benue teaching hospital lacks referral status – CMD

The new Chief Medical Director of Benue State Teaching Hospital (BSUTH) in Makurdi, Dr Stephen Hwande, on Wednesday expressed worry that the hospital does not…

The new Chief Medical Director of Benue State Teaching Hospital (BSUTH) in Makurdi, Dr Stephen Hwande, on Wednesday expressed worry that the hospital does not have the status of a referral place.

Hwande said the facility he met on the ground cannot handle trauma at the highest level nor could it possibly do renal transplant, brain surgery and cancer management.

The CMD spoke when he received members of the State’s Assembly House Committee on Health during their oversight function of the tertiary hospital.

He said the hospital was currently confronted with a non-functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine (MRI), Dialysis machines and Radiology.

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The CMD decried the condition of the non-functional MRI which was commissioned in the twilight of the immediate past administration in the state, stressing that it never worked after it was only a test run.

The doctor said, “The MRI is not working and has never worked on any Benue indigene. Two dialysis machines were supplied to the Isolation Unit, those machines I was told are not safe for human use. They are there and have never been used. Attempting to use is difficult as it needs a lot of reconstruction.

“If you have a functional MRI machine, you have solved more than 70 per cent of Radiology problems here. I think the desire of this administration which the legislative arm is part of is to ensure that this hospital is a referral in the North Central region so that we do not need to go to Abuja all the time.

He further stated, “We are still struggling at the rudimentary level, with dilapidated structures. We are working with different partners to revamp the hospital because it is better to be healthy than wealthy. In fact, the hospital had to send residents for six months of training in Abuja.

“Imagine something came in and was not used, the best thing is for it to be returned. How do we put MRI and dialysis in another budget when these ones have not been used? So, I felt before we go for our budget defence, you should know the ones to put and take out. For us, it is for the Benue people to have quality.

“There is also, an NGO deal with sexual issues, I do not know how they came in but the office is not accessible to us. I appeal to the House to show concern for the hospital because several teaching hospitals are springing up and if you do not fix yours, no one will do it for you. Benue should be thinking of medical tourism.”

Responding, Chairman of the House Committee on Health, Pharm Thomas Dugeri representing Kwande constituency bemoaned the decay of the health facility, noting that the level of waste was “unpardonable.”

Dugeri observed that the manner the former CMD Dr. Terlumum Swende allowed the equipment and amenities to rot away was worrisome and needed further probing.

He emphasised that the last time the committee visited the hospital, they noticed glaringly, the issues of shortage of manpower, equipment, water supply and electricity.

The lawmaker said, “We had demanded the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and the partners for the Radiology and the medical laboratory. But we are seeing things in a different dimension now. How did drugs worth over N200m waste? How did these drugs come into the hospital? Even if it had been given as a donation, it would have taken the hospital to heights.

“We have to invite those involved because the cost for these equipment is in billions and we are meant to understand that a loan was taken to purchase these machines. So, how can we just sit down, fold our hands and allow these to go down the drain?

Dugeri added, “So, we have to invite the then commissioner for Health, Dr Joseph Ngbea; the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health; Director of Purchase and Supply; and the former CMD, Dr. Terlumun Swende. The Director of Administration of the hospital will also have to come, as well as the NGO that operated in the hospital.”


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