…‘Our HADC mandate’
BY DEMOLA AKINYEMI
The outwardly looking and often deserted expansive compound of Harmony Advanced Diagnostic Centre (HADC), situated along Asa Dam Road, Ilorin, Kwara State capital, actually belies the boisterous life-saving activities going on right inside the complex when Sunday Vanguard visited.
The state-of-the-art machines, courteous staff and organized system of operations speak volumes of a dream come true.
Patients from far and near who came for diagnoses filled the expansive reception to capacity.
The multi-billion naira diagnostic centre envisioned by Dr Bukola Saraki, the current Senate President while he was serving his second term as governor of Kwara State, is in two major departments: Imaging and Laboratory Services.
The current administration of Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, which rode on the crest of Legacy Continue to take over from his predecessor, saw to the completion of Harmony Advanced Diagnostic Centre which was commissioned by the immediate past Vice President Namadi Sambo in 2013. The centre commenced operations in 2014.
Amongst several others, the Imaging Department provides CT and MRI scans, fluoroscopy, mammography and other x-ray and scanning services with the most up-to-date equipment, including 3D magnetic resonance, image module, ultrasound scan, ECG, mammography, fluoroscopes, 16-slide and 64-slide CT scan, powered by dedicated uninterrupted power supply units.
There is also a specialized room of power banks where several sophisticated batteries are neatly arranged and electrically fitted to the machines to provide an immediate alternative power supply for the machines whose nature of operations abhor power outage at any time, particularly while on operation.
The Laboratory Services Department does not fare less in terms of quality equipment, which include Haematology analyzer, automated coagulation analyzer, the COBAS 4000 Analyzer used for serum chemistry and immunoassay in the immunology laboratory amongst others with the ability to deliver world class services.
The centre is automated and customers can register for service online, receive their results in zero down time, while the microbiology unit has the automated culture system. It has partners across the world with which it collaborates and confirms the results of tests and diagnoses with a view to reducing human error. It boasts of expatriates and Nigerians with expertise in various fields of medical diagnosis.
Speaking in an interview with Sunday Vanguard, the Acting Managing Director of the centre, Dr Bunmi Jetawo-Winters, a pharmacist, said the facility was set to be a diagnostic centre of excellence in the North-Central. “Harmony Advanced Diagnostic Centre has positioned itself as one of the leading diagnostic centres in Kwara, Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo, Kogi, Benue and Niger states”, she stressed.
Jetawo-Winters added, “HADC’s mission statement is ‘to ensure the consistent provision of comprehensive diagnostic and allied healthcare services, and to remain a centre of excellence’”.
She, however, said that despite the centre’s sophistication in terms of equipment and personnel, Nigeria still lags behind in medical diagnosis.
“We do not have enough diagnostic centres in Nigeria. We also have few laboratories that carry out expansive tests in the country. Considering Nigeria’s population, that is not good.”
Jetawo-Winters, who doubles as the Director General, Kwara State Hospitals Management Board, said the centre is not out to carry out empirical treatment on patients, but is designed to do investigations on patients to get to the source of the problems.
She pointed out that HADC was interfacing with teaching hospitals in the state and those of neighbouring states, saying, “We have highly sophisticated equipment not readily available in many other states of the federation.”
Meanwhile, HADC is not without challenges.
“We have multi-faceted problems. Just like in any other part of the country, power supply is one of the problems. We do have enough biomedical engineers. And we need a lot more training for available biomedical engineers. Universities should be encouraged to bridge the gap,” the Acting MD said.
Jetawo-Winters said the centre is work in progress, putting the performance of the four-year-old facility at 75 per cent.
“We are expanding our services so that we can be a centre of excellence in the nation. We want to partner local and international partners”, she stated.
The HADC boss used the moment to dismiss the insinuation that Senate President Saraki and Governor Ahmed have shares in the centre.
The centre, according to her, is 100 per cent owned by Kwara State government but is being run like a private concern.”
Jetawo-Winters hailed the Federal Government for setting aside 22 per cent for the health sector in the 2018 budget.
“It is a major improvement from the past. It is a step in the right direction,” she added, advocating, however, for between 35 and 40 per cent for the sector in subsequent budgets.
The Acting MD enjoined government at all levels to promote the health sector for the wellness and well-being of the society, stressing that health is wealth.
“If one is not in good health, there is nothing you can do in life, everything will be meaningless”, she stressed.
Conducting Sunday Vanguard round the Laboratory Department, the Manager, Chukwukelu Jason, said the state government had invested huge funds in the centre.
Jason encouraged Nigerians to do annual general medical check-ups.
“What we are talking about here is that you can’t see anything that is inside of human beings except with the aid of machines. And when an ailment is detected in time, it can be easily managed; early detection is key to early treatment.”
His counterpart at the Imaging Department, Dr Oyinloye Gregory, said that most of the equipment in his section were unique and rarely in use in many parts of the country.