By Dennis Agbo
COLLAPSED healthcare system was one of the ugly vestiges the military bequeathed to the civilian administration in 1999 and Enugu State was not an exception. Luckily, the state produced a Medical Doctor, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, as its governor on Nigeria’s return to civilian rule on May 29, 1999.
Before Nnamani came on board, the state University Teaching hospital and the College of Medicine for training of doctors were located at Nsukka in line with the multiple campus structure of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, ESUT. Closure of the multiple campus structure of ESUT and return of the ESUT College of Medicine to Enugu, the capital of the state was one of the early programmes of the Nnamani administration.
He converted the Park Lane General Hospital Enugu to the ESUT College of Medicine and the Teaching hospital thereof. Later on, the school got accreditation to graduate medical students and since then it has produced many home made doctors. Other achievements were made in both the primary and secondary healthcare systems such as the construction of some health centres and upgrading of facilities in the seven general hospitals in the state.
Between 2007 and 2015, the Sullivan Chime administration upgraded facilities in ESUT College of medicine and the teaching hospital. The Chime administration precisely ensured that the school had full accreditation after more than 10 years of existence. Under Chime, Enugu State strategic health development plan was crafted, bringing about many feats such as institutionalization of human capacity building; implementation of district health system; maternal care, new born and child; employment of 70 doctors, 400 nurses and 530 allied medical professionals.
Within the period, the drug revolving fund was revamped in the state; Enugu State Medical Emergency Response Service, ESMERT; and the state primary health development agency were established. He also built and equipped a state-of-the-art diagnostic centre and strengthened partnership with development partners such as the World Health Organization, DFID and UNICEF.
Currently, the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is implementing a return to the multi-campus structure of the state university, which invariably will be taking ESUT Teaching hospital back to Nsukka area.
One of the areas being suspected that may be destination for ESUT Teaching hospital is the new medical complex about being completed at Igboano in Udenu local government area. The Igboano medical facility, designated as a specialist hospital, was flagged off for construction at the inception of the Ugwuanyi administration which is in addition to the upgrade presently being executed at Nsukka General Hospital. Also, the Colliery Comprehensive hospital in Enugu is equally receiving infrastructural upgrade to add to the existing healthcare services in the state.
Primary healthcare is one of the areas in the healthcare system that the Ugwuanyi administration has scaled up services by restructuring the State Primary Health Development Agency for more efficient service. In addition, the remuneration and welfare of medical doctors at the Teaching Hospital is being sorted out after a protracted non-implementation of their full salary scale that the Ugwuanyi administration inherited.
At other flanks of health infrastructure, the Ikem General Hospital in Isi-Uzo local government area, that had been a shame of the state health sector, is presently receiving attention as the state government had sent delegation to understudy what is needed to improve its services.