By Jimitota Onoyume
PORT HARCOURT- FOR the people of Eku community in Ethiope East local government, in Delta state, governor Emmanuel Uduaghan was sent by God to address what they saw as their greatest challenge.
It was a collective pain in the heart of the whole community that the Eku Baptist hospital which at a time was the pride of the community, one of the glories of Urhobo nation and an outstanding referral centre in the West of the Niger was fast becoming a shadow of its former self.
The hospital made the community very visible in the map of the country. The area enjoyed cosmopolitan rating because the hospital attracted the best brains in the medical field from all the nooks and crannies of the country. Expatriates were also in its employ.
According to the community records, Eku Baptist hospital took off as a dispensary in 1945, an initiative of two expatriate missionaries, Reverend Milford and Mrs. Eliot Howell. And in 1950, with support from the community and the Southern American Baptist Convention, it grew into a full fledge hospital. But unlike other hospitals this perceives man as a combination of mind and body, and so created an office for a priest in its organogram.
The Chaplain, as the priest is called, is neither a doctor nor a paramedics. One of his responsibilities is to make patients realize that doctors only prescribe while God almighty does the healing.
This hospital started witnessing a severe downturn when the American missionaries left. The community in its address before governor Uduaghan described the situation after the exit of the missionaries, better when it said, â€œthings started falling apartâ€. Those who visited the hospital few years after the exit of the missionaries wept because it was a contrast of what they knew to be Eku Baptist hospital.
But this sad picture is now history with the taking over of the hospital by the Delta state government. Precisely on November 2, this year governor Emmanuel Uduaghan visited the community where he announced the take over, an action that immediately sparked wild jubilation in the community. The people sang and danced all through the day.