By Garba M. Muhammad

The Medical Director of Federal Medical Center Keffi, Dr. Yahaya Baba Adamu has commended members of the Center’s Joint Health Staff Union (JOHESU) for finally suspending its one week long warning strike which crippled activities in the hospital.

In an exclusive interview with Health Monitor, the Medical Director who lamented action of the union’s leaders for always insisting on strike action as the only alternative for pressing home their demands, a situation that often results in creating untold hardship on the side of patients, especially those with severe health conditions.

It would be recalled that the JOHESU members embarked on a one week industrial action to demand payment of their promotions arrears from 2018 – 2020.

The Medical Director who, though, described the industrial action as regrettable, commended the Union for ensuring that the strike did not last long. He however expressed readiness for concerted negotiations with the union to avert future strikes.

Dr. Yahaya, who also denied allegations by some members of the union that he returned money to the Federal Government, wondered how he could have done that when there is so much to do with money in the hospital.

He explained that process of returning money to the coffers of the federal government is not what people think; stressing that it does not take physical transfer of cash.

“You may have certain amount of money for personnel or money approved for you for capital project, and if by the end of the fiscal year you are unable to exhaust it for what it was meant for, during closing of account, you would be locked out of it and it would be then returned to the coffers of the Federal Government. It is no longer belonging to your own institution. That is the meaning of returning money. It is only when I have not utilized my money and by the end of the year they will see it there and closes it”, he said.

He added that, “I was wondering which money was returned and for what reason? How would we return money when we are using it to work? We couldn’t have returned any money. There was no money in my hand in any way to be returned. The only money that was there was the one for capital expenditure and we have used it judiciously”.

The Medical Director also used the opportunity to clear the air on some issues making rounds that accident victims usually face untold experiences when brought to the emergency ward of the hospital, lamenting that the emergency ward is overloaded, hence a plan is underway to expand the capacity of the ward to combat the challenge.

“If you go to the emergency, you will see patients sitting on chairs; some are lying on the consulting tables because the regular beds are all full. When somebody comes in with his patient, as human nature is, you expect that yours should be treated first; but professionally, in terms of responding to treatment, we sort out accident victims in order of severity of cases trying to look at those who are most likely to die fast”, he said, adding that, “ So, when people come in with their patients, and if they tell them they are not most vulnerable, they will not understand or believe it, and because one does not the criteria being followed at the hospital, when the patient is left unattended to for a while, one becomes agitated”.

“Another issue is that we don’t have enough beds in the Emergency ward. Our bed capacity had long been exceeded by the number of patients we receive. Ideally, once a patient comes, he is treated to a point of stability and out of danger; he is then transferred from the Emergency to the ward. Unfortunately, there is no receiving point in the ward. So, some of those stable patients remain hanging on the beds and you cannot throw them out because they are not fully well yet but are only stabilized. Here you cannot send them home and there is no place to send them to the ward, what then do you do with such persons as other cases are coming? Nothing, Dr. Yahaya added.

According to him, “In seeing this problem occurring on a daily basis, we are trying our best to fix them. In fact our part of priority for 2021 is to come up with new ward of 116 new bedded wards. If the budget is low we may start with 58 bedded ward first. If we finish it this year then we will take the other 58 next year so that we would have more rooms to evacuate the emergency”.

“We are equally thinking of using our permanent site along the high way to erect a trauma centre with attached wards. And since it is by the road side, everything about accident, will be taken care of there. However, that remains a function of how we get funds fast, he concluded.

The Medical Director expressed dismay over how some overzealous people would always take pleasure in propagating false information to discredit the reputation of the hospital.

“I don’t know why people can’t see the good in us and report it, they always report the bad. Worse still, even if there no bad to report, they create the bad. In fact, even if it is a bad report but it’s true, if you report it, it might hurt me initially but you have also done me a favour for doing so because you are teaching me to correct myself; but when you create a falsehood, what do you want me to do about it? There is nothing like that so how do you want me to correct myself? If it is obvious wrong or bad, it is like you are holding a mirror and I’m seeing myself. Why should I argue that I’m not the one? I may not like the way I am seeing it but the best thing to do is to get somebody that can fix it so that I can look better”, he said.

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