BY VINCENT UJUMADU
THE Anambra State-owned Umueri General Hospital in Anambra East local government area of the state, built in the 1960s and renovated with N25 million by the immediate past administration has become a safe home for rodents and reptiles due to neglect.
Patients no longer patronize the hospital and many workers there are asking for a transfer to other functional health institutions in the state.
A visit to the hospital showed that some of the equipment installed after its renovation in 2007 by the Peter Obi administration, had been vandalized, while some have become obsolete.
A security officer attached to the hospital, Mr Emmanuel Agbata lamented that workers posted to the hospital hardly come to work for fear of attack by reptiles.
He said: “We are risking our lives in this hospital. Look at the type of bush in a General Hospital owned by the government. The type of snakes and other reptiles that stay around here often chase people away and sometimes these wild animals attack people inside the hospital, “According to him, an X-ray machine that was purchased for the hospital four years ago had not been installed and there is no functional x=ray machine around to serve the people of the area, adding that if anybody in the area has to do an x-ray, he has to travel to Awka or Onitsha which are distant places from Umueri.
Also in the hospital, the building housing the power generating set has been overgrown by weeds, which was an indication that the generating set has been in use.
In fact, further investigation showed that the power generator has not even been tasted since it was delivered to the hospital.
“I do not think that what we have here is still a generator because I am sure that most of the parts have been vandalized by those that brought it here because it has never been tested or put to use for years,” Agbata said.
The state commissioner for health, Dr Jeo Akabuike, however, said that government would soon put the hospital into proper use. According to him, medical personnel have been deployed to the hospital, while a new building with functional facilities has been constructed.
“Efforts are being made to improve on other basic medical infrastructure in the hospital and the dilapidated structures will soon be taken care of by the state government,” the commissioner said.
It would be recalled that Umueri General Hospital was built in the early sixties through community effort and was servicing Oyi, Anambra East, Anambra West and Ayamelum local government areas before it was destroyed during the infamous Umueri-Aguleri communal war between 1995 and 1999.
In 2007 the then government of Mr Peter Obi constructed three new structures and renovated older buildings in the hospital compound and equipped them with medical facilities.
Although the people of Umueri looked forward to enjoying the facilities in the hospital, the enthusiasm was dampened because the hospital has not functioned properly since its renovation.