By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—THE Federal Government-owned Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Esan Central local government area of Edo state is to be upgraded to a 500-bed hospital to enable it meet with the challenges in  health delivery service to the people.

Besides, the hospital’s board of management is to meet with officials of Education Trust Fund (ETF), with a view of getting the  body to fund the hospital’s research on Lassa fever.

The hospital’s Institute on Lassa Fever Research is the only existing research institute on the epidemic disease, which cause had been attributed to rats in West African.

Speaking at a two-day management retreat on Strategizing for Effecrtive Health Care Delivery System in Contemporary Nigeria, Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Prof. George Akpede, said the hospital has witnessed marked growth and development since its commissioning in 1993, in spite of the changes it had to contend with over the years.

He said that midway through the 5- year strategic plan and about three and a half years after its retreat in 2006, the development of the hospital needed to be re-appraised  and new targets set as necessary.

Prof. Akpede listed the main objectives of the retreat to include repositioning of the hospital for greater efficiency and effectiveness in qualitative healthcare delivering, in keeping with the health component of the Seven-Point agenda of the President as well as re-prioritizing the hospital’s 5-year strategic plan.

He also disclosed that the theme of the retreat was aimed at addressing the twin emergent concerns of quality assurance in healthcare delivery and bridging the funding gap in development through opportunistic tapping into alternative and complementary sources.

Chairman of the hospital’s Board of Management, Dr. Itafuen J. Oke, while also addressing the retreat, said the board has commenced discussions with Education Trust Fund to be involved in research into Lassa fever since the epidemic cut across several states of the federation.

Stressing the importance of the retreat, he stated that its outcome would assist the board in its policy formulation for the growth and development of the Specialist Teaching Hospital, which also serves as the training hospital for clinical students of the College of Medicine of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.

The hospital’s board chairman also said that the outcome of the retreat would place the hospital in the front burners with its contemporaries in the country, especially in capacity building and  development.

He called on participants to avail themselves of the opportunity provided by the retreat to contribute their quota to the overall development of the hospital.

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