Many Nigerians have voiced out their concern on the present deplorable condition of the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Zaria.
The fact that northern Nigeria has the highest population in the country makes the hospital vital to the lives of the people of the region, as most major complex cases are often referred there for solution.
The sad countenance of Abdulgaffar Sunusi was infectious. He was discharged from the ABUTH’s orthopaedics ward after a successful operation to change one of his damaged bones.
He narrated his ordeals to Daily Trust on Sunday, while on admission at the hospital. According to Sunusi, condition of the ABUTH was so bad to the level that patients had to contribute money to repair some of the electrical appliances in the wards.
He said: “The fan in our ward was not working and you know the serious heat that Zaria is experiencing now. Wallahi (I swear to Allah), we contributed money to repair the fans in the ward. The electrician in charge of the ward told us that there was nothing he could do, as there were no parts in their store for repairs of faulty electrical appliances. So, things are so bad at ABUTH.
Almost everybody is complaining in the hospital. When you have interaction with doctors and nurses, one can be moved to tears. For example, some of the nurses told us that before this time, they used to have drugs at their stations for emergency cases, but now even syringes are not available. Patients have to buy everything no matter the condition. Trauma cases now lead to deaths in ABUTH, because some people would be brought without relatives to foot their bills and there is no provision of any sort by the hospital. They would tell you that they have complained to the level of resigning to fate.”
Similarly, a lady that was recently delivered of a baby in the hospital corroborated the experiences of Sunusi.
“Honestly, it reached a point where I was praying seriously to be discharged because of the horrible condition I found myself. You know the labour ward is one of the areas that require special attention, but we had to contribute money to buy detergents and other toiletries to take care of the conveniences.
Our relatives washed the toilets. One could not sleep in the night, as the fans were not working even when there was light and in the labour wards windows are restricted. I think something needs to be done urgently otherwise this place is gradually becoming a ‘death centre’ not a hospital.”
A staff who pleaded anonymity said he had spent 24 months working without salary.
He added: “I am a cleaner. I have not been paid in the past 24 months. Our services were outsourced and the management is saying that they have not received money to pay our monthly stipends. The issue of our wages has contributed to the deterioration of conveniences and the general environment of ABUTH.”
A technical staff of the hospital said he was recently moved by the death of a young boy who happened to be a son of one of the top doctors of the hospital.
“The boy was admitted at the paediatric ward. The fans in the ward were not working for a long time. So, when the boy was admitted, one of our technicians was immediately called to repair the fans because of that particular boy. We were wondering that they wanted the fans to work because of their son.
We couldn’t fix the fans and this doctor brought in a standing fan specifically for his son. I asked myself why they left the hospital to deteriorate knowing that they may be victims one day. Unfortunately, the boy died. This is the danger of mismanagement. It affects all and sundry.”