By Emeka Mamah
Enugu — The Enugu State Government has begun to crack down on proprietors of illegal hospitals with the closure of three hospitals declared unfit by the state Ministry of Health. The illegal hospitals included: Chimamanda, based at Umuadogwa, Umuida, Enugu Ezike, Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area; Testimony Hospital, Ibagwa- Aka in Igbo-Eze South Local Government and Welcare New Merit Hospital, Coal Camp, in Enugu metropolis. Chimamanda was reportedly shut down over inability of its proprietor to register the hospital with any of the tiers of government.
According to information obtained by South-East Voice, Testimony Hospital was also being run by one Mr Ibuchukwu Asogwa, a self-styled homeopath, who is not licenced to practise medicine in Nigeria, while Welcare is jointly run by one Olabisi Philip Olukolade and his wife, Chinonso Philip.
The hospitals, ministry sources hinted, were operating without any form of registration with the State Ministry of Health.
Police detectives had swooped on the owners of Chimamanda Hospital in December last year, following allegations of poor medical services, as well as drugging and raping of female patients.
A female patient at the hospital, (name withheld) was allegedly drugged, raped and videotaped, prompting the facility’s host community to ask its owners to pack out of the area.
The proprietor of the hospital was said to have invited the victim to his clinic, and informed her that his own relation wanted to marry her. The “doctor,” however, informed the girl that he would conduct HIV/AIDS test on her in a bid to fast- track the marriage by proving to his relation that she was healthy, to which the girl agreed. In the process of conducting the “test,” the fake doctor reportedly drugged his victim and raped her. He was also said to have videotaped the incident, thus triggering the police investigation.
Police detectives who investigated the hospitals said that the operators were in the habbit of recommending surgeries for any type of ailment which they usually performed at exorbitant prices of between N300,000 and N500,000 for such minor or major operations.
It was alleged that a particular female patient who was operated on for appendicitis was unable to walk, nine months after the surgery, due to the damage done to her organs.
This was even before the latest government hammer fell on it.
Furthermore, proprietors of the hospitals were accused of causing the untimely deaths of several patients through illegal surgeries and abortions carried out by some of their ill- equipped staff.
Although the operators of the said hospitals were said to be on the run, they allegedly possessed forged medical practitioners’ certificates which they reportedly used in their illegal activities.
The affected hospitals included Our Testimony Hospital Ibagwa Aka, Igbo Eze South LGA, run by one Mr Ibuchukwu Asogwa, a self-styled homeopath who was not licenced to practice Homeopathic remedies in Nigeria.
He was also not registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria but dabbled into Orthodox Medicine practice without qualification, thus posing danger to the unsuspecting public.
Olabisi Philips was said to have been parading a forged medical degree certificate, a forged certificate of additional registration and a forged certificate as a fellow of the West Africa College of Surgeons (Obstetrics and Gynecology).
All the certificates have been declared not authentic by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and West African College of Surgeons, just as the culprit is currently on the run and the hospital sealed.
It was closed down for operating illegally without any form of registration with the State Ministry of Health.
Reacting to the ministry’s action, the Enugu State chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, said it sincerely welcomed the prompt intervention of the State Ministry of Health in closing down the health facilities.
State chairman of the association, Dr Ikechukwu Okwesili and the assistant secretary, Dr Sunday Okafor told reporters that: “On the side of the NMA and its Antiquackery Committee, there is currently an indexing of all private health facilities in the state to avoid these unwholesome practices.
“It is our wish that the continued collaboration with the State Ministry of Health will continue in the interest of the general public while we call on the law enforcement agencies to double efforts in apprehending the perpetrators for prosecution for forgery and or criminal practices.
“It is sad that some individuals and groups have decided to peddle medical quackery in the state thereby negating the efforts of the state government in ensuring sustainable health care delivery as the Governor has assented to the State Health Sector Reform Law in a bold move last year.
“It is a known fact that at the heart of Medical Practice is the Ethics of the profession which a criminal practice will undermine for profit . This is unacceptable because it is a major cause of the poor health indices coming out of the country.