Kano Interview Series (2)
MURTALA MOHAMMED HOSPITAL, KANO
On 7 June 2012, I visited Murtala Mohammed Hospital where I met the Chief Medical Director, Dr. Munkaila Usman Yusuf. The following is my interview with the Chief Consultant Physician, Dr. Mansur Nagoda and the Chief Medical Director. After the interview, I was conducted around the premises of the hospital, which I found very tidy after it the recent renovation works which included the pavements of interlocking blocks in all hitherto unpaved areas of the hospital. There was also a good traffic control of visitors, especially women, to the maternity ward. I also visited the newly renovated Accident and Emergency Section that is located across the road. This is how the brief interview went:
Me: Hello sir. Can you please introduce yourself?
Dr. Mansur: I am Dr. Mansur Nagoda. I am the Chief Consultant Physician of the hospital.
Me: Can you briefly tell me any achievement recorded in this hospital during the past one year?
Dr. Mansur: Yes. We have witnessed many achievements. First, the hospital was visited by His Excellency, the governor of the state, immediately he was sworn in. The first thing he noticed was the small size and unkept nature of our emergency section. He immediately approved the renovation of the place and delivery of all the necessary modern equipment we need, including a mobile x-ray such that whenever a patient is brought he can receive all the necessary first aid attention he needs. The renovation is completed and the equipment are delivered and installed there. I will conduct you to the section after the interview.
Me: Are you sure the equipment will not end up stolen by your staff?
Dr. Mansur: No. No. That is impossible.
Me: Okay. That is one. What else?
Dr. Mansur: Good. The next place he visited was the maternity ward where he saw the ugly nature of the place. He immediately sent a renovation team to the place. It is now paved with interlocking blocks and properly landscaped with shrubs and trees. If we go around now, you will see how beautiful the place is looking. The hospital now looks neat, dustbins have been placed everywhere, and so on.
The third development is in the attitude of staff. Many members of staff arrive late for duty before and leave before closing hours. But knowing that there is a close supervision now, people come to work promptly and wait until their replacements come at the end of their shift.
The fourth is the regular provision of sufficient diesel to our generators. This has enabled us provide 24 hours of electricity to the hospital daily. Theatres can now run without any fear of blackouts. Refrigerators and other appliances are now fully utilized.
Me: Wao! You mean if I visit this place at night, which I will surely do, there would be electricity, always?
Dr. Mansur: I am inviting you to come at any time. There will be electricity. This is not a small achievement.
Then, relating to salaries, whenever it is 24 or 25th of the month, every worker receives an alert that his salary has been paid into his account.
Me: It wasn’t so before, you mean?
Dr. Mansur: No. Previously, there used to be delays and the day of payment was always unknown. Every worker is now happy with this development.
Me: What will you say about drugs?
Dr. Mansur: Drugs for pregnant women and children are now provided to such patients freely. We are lucky that our chief medical director is a member of the drug distribution committee. It is assured that every month these drugs are delivered on time and in sufficient quantities. Immediately there is an emergency case or when a woman comes for delivery, nothing – absolutely nothing – is requested of her. All she needs for operation in terms of blood and drugs is given and done freely in this hospital now. The same thing with anyone brought on emergency. He gets treated free of charge, including blood transfusion.
Me: That is good. Now what about people on admission…
Dr. Mansur: Government has directed that all patients adjudged poor, who cannot afford to pay for their treatment, should be treated free of charge, including the provision of drugs.
Me: And this is really done?
Dr. Mansur: Yes. That is done. Whoever complains of his inability to pay for treatment gets treated freely here.
Me: What about diseases related to poor sanitation and lack of hygiene which Kano city is renowned for especially two years ago. I can see a lot of effort has gone into sanitizing the city. There are no more mountains or even heaps of refuse, unlike before. Does this have any impact on the occurrence of diseases like gastroenteritis?
Dr. Mansur: There is a reduced occurrence of sanitation related diseases and communicable diseases like Meningitis. Like when the CSM incident occurred a short while ago, apart from extensive vaccination exercise, sufficient drugs were sent here to improve our capacity to treat such cases. I personally received those drugs on behalf of the CMD. Due to the prevalence of such diseases before, there used to be so many admissions that you find some patients admitted even on the corridors and many were transferred to isolation ward. All these have reduced now.
Me: What call would you make to government and the general public regarding their public health?
Dr. Mansur: I will call on people to report to the hospital at the earliest signs of sickness. They should not become bed-ridden before they come to the hospital. Government should also continue with its effort in providing sufficient drugs and free treatment to patients.
Me: Sorry, I forgot to ask you about HIV-AIDS. What development was made in that area given that it is a disease that has become endemic?
Dr. Mansur: Apart from free screening for HIV and TB patients, in this hospital we have an ART clinic for TB and AID patients where patients are screened and receive drugs freely; sometimes they are even given some money to enable them take better care of themselves. The clinic is across the road. I will take you there too.
Me: And there is no break in the provision of the services and drugs?
Dr. Mansur: The drugs are given freely and they are sufficiently available.
(And now, turning to the Chief Medical Director, I asked him if he has more to add. He earlier preferred Dr. Mansur to speak because it is barely three months since his posting as CMD of the hospital)
Me: CMD, do you have anything to add?
CMD: In addition to what Dr. Mansur has said, there are items given for the sanitation of this hospital every month under the state Committee on Cleansing and Cleaning.
Me: Is that not for this hospital alone?
CMD: It is for all the thirty-four hospitals in Kano. Then, given the on-going incidents of bombings and shootings, the governor has directed that all victims of such incidents be treated freely and we are complying with the directive. We have such patients right now in the hospital who are enjoying such free services.
A team has been sent from the Water Board to improve on our water supply.
Me: So as in the case of electricity, you mean you will also have continuous flow of water in the hospital taps?
CMD: The work is ongoing. The situation has improved greatly. With the help of the current administration, all our boreholes are operational now.
Me: Do you have any wish you would like the government to accomplish for you?
CMD: Alhamdulillah. Government is providing free services. It pays salaries regularly; patients are admitted freely, including some operations like maternal care. In some clinics some of such operations are done at about N100,000.00 but we do them for free here. What is needed now is for the rich to compliment the effort of government and chip in their contribution.
Secondly, people need to be patient with our workers. Sometimes the places become too congested for our work. So visitors should please try to comply with our visiting schedules.
Then, we will be glad if the government would expedite action on increasing the number of staff that includes nurses, midwives, doctors, lab and pharmacy staff, etc. Government has promised to do something about it. We hope it will do so as soon as possible.
We are also worried about the market just outdoor. It is a big nuisance to the hospital. It should be relocated. Government has done it before and it can do it again. For example, it is difficult to convey a patient from our accident and emergency section or from the Old-Murtala to the main hospital. They overflow into the hospital sometimes and even throw excreta across the wall. Government should please help to find a place for these traders such that we can have a free atmosphere to operate.
We are glad that government has promised the delivery of dental equipment to the hospital. I even heard that it has been approved by the House today. We are anxiously awaiting their arrival.
Finally, we are presently using two 500Kva generators. We have been promised an 850Kva which will improve our electricity generation capacity. We hope it will be fulfilled as soon as possible. That is all.
Me: Okay. Thank you very much sir.
8 June 2012