By CECILIA OLOGUNAGBA
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, says the Federal Government is committed to supporting developmental strides in university teaching hospitals and other health institutions in the country.
Ehanire said this at the inauguration of some landmark projects at University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) on Thursday.
The projects were virtually inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari, while Ehanire did the physical inauguration.
The projects include modern Physical Rehabilitation Centre (PRC) built for UMTH by International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for rehabilitation of physically Disability patients; 150-bed capacity trauma centre, School of Nursing Hostel, UMTH auditorium and General Outpatient Complex.
The minister thanked the management and board of UMTH for the leadership, resilience and dedication, even under the difficult circumstances in the Northeast region.
He said “as a leading federal health institution in the North East and a centre of excellence in infectious diseases in Nigeria, UMTH has grown into a focal point for quality healthcare in various medical and surgical specialties.
“We are here today to witness the President’s inauguration of yet new additions to infrastructure, operational scope and service capacity of this hospital.
“These structures will reposition UMTH for delivery of emergency medical and surgical care, nursing service, family medicine, physical therapy and medical rehabilitation.”
According to him, the need for top-ranking Trauma Centre is borne out of the necessity to cater for the sharp increase in complex trauma cases, fed by contemporary civil unrest.
Ehanire said that the Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Centre would in no small way, ensure that injured patients requiring physiotherapy and rehabilitation received all-inclusive care at UMTH.
He said “patients will get one-stop-shop service by receiving the full range of treatments in the acute state and appropriate rehabilitation. We owe this wonderful asset to the generosity of ICRC.”
Meanwhile, a statement by ICRC states that the first Physical Rehabilitation Centre in Maiduguri will bring physical rehabilitation services to hundreds of people living with disabilities in the North East.
The centre, which will be run by ICRC, is projected to serve more than 2,000 people in need of prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs, crutches and mobility devices by 2022.
The statement quoted Ms Idah Kadyamatimba, the ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Programme Manager, as saying “we have seen through our other physical rehabilitation centres how life-changing services are.
“At times, people come to us crawling, and they go back walking on their feet.
“Because of this new centre, patients will no longer have to undertake long journey to Kano or other states to receive care.”
The ICRC statement also quoted Mr Eloi Fillion, the ICRC Head of delegation in Nigeria, as saying “the centre epitomises one of the definitions of making physical rehabilitation services accessible and as close as possible to people in need.
“We are proud to have worked with University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital to make this centre a reality.”
According to him, the new centre in Maiduguri will provide a wide range of services and mobility devices such as artificial limbs, wheelchairs and crutches, and offer physiotherapy and mental health psycho-social support to people with physical Disabilities.
“The facility will start operating with 34 staff, eight of whom are physically challenged people who received physical rehabilitation by the ICRC.
“The centre was financed through the innovative funding mechanism called ‘The Humanitarian Impact Bond’ created to encourage social investment from the private sector to support ICRC’s health programmes.”
The ICRC is the world’s largest provider of physical rehabilitation services in countries experiencing armed conflict and violence.
In 2019, the ICRC assisted over 420,000 people with disabilities in more than 30 countries.
In Nigeria, the ICRC will continue to support the physical rehabilitation centre in Kano, where 314 physical Disability people received assistance in 2019.
The ICRC had been assisting people with physical Disability in Nigeria since 1979.