* Doctors attend to them without gloves, syringes
*Snakes, bats, weeds take over abandoned departments/units
*Winged Wheel Women Charity Initiative donates medical equipment, etc
By Emmanuel Unah
OBUBRA — PREGNANT women deliver babies on the bare floor, while doctors attend to them with uncovered hands at the Obubra General Hospital, Obubra, Cross River State, because of lack of gloves, syringes and other indispensable tools.
•Mrs Getty Ogbeche of Winged Wheeel women
Besides, snakes lurk around parts of the sickbay at night, making some parts a no go area, while bats, rodents, cobwebs and grasses have taken the dilapidated sections.
Medical Superintendent of the Hospital, Dr Ben Ajogbor, confirmed that doctors, indeed, work with bare hands in the hospital due to lack of facilities.
This is the sad story of neglect at Obubra General Hospital, Obubra, Cross River State, established in 1940 by the colonial government, which served as a secondary medical facility for residents of seven local government areas in Central District of the state and neighboring communities in Ebonyi State. The hospital is on its last legs.
Abandoned by govt
For seven decades, it was a centre for the treatment of infectious diseases like tuberculosis, leprosy and most importantly, a maternity where pregnant women received antenatal care, delivered babies and got postnatal care to keep their babies alive.
However, over the years, previous and successive governments in the state have cast off the health institution, starving it of necessary funds to maintain available facilities.
The sordid state of affairs is palpable even from a distance as you approach the hospital overgrown with trees, grasses with dilapidated buildings and roofs.
NDV learnt that many residents do not even remember that the hospital still exist in the area, let alone to patronise it, because of the decay caused by long period of abandonment, lack of facilities and staff.
Several units, departments shut down
Our findings show that the management has shut down several units and departments, including Children and Men Wards, Tuberculosis Unit and Medical Records due to lack of activities and affairs.
Medical Superintendent of the Hospital, Dr Ben Ajogbor, told a group of Cross River Women non-governmental organisation, Winged Women Charity Initiative, that donated to the health institution, recently, that the only visible department in the hospital was the maternity because many poor women still go to the place to give birth.
His words: “The only units now functional are the maternity and outpatients units and those ones are barely being kept alive because of lack of equipment, while the rest have been taken over by grasses, bats and rodents. So we are thankful to you, Winged Wheel Women Charity Initiative, for these supplies which will go a long way in helping us render services to our people, particularly the vulnerable in the society.”
He disclosed that the doctors battle daily to save their lives with bare hands as basic items like gloves and syringes were sometimes unavailable to work with.
Video clips of women giving birth on bare floor
Speaking in the same vein, president of the group, Mrs Gety Ogbeche, said they were concerned about the sordid state of affairs in the hospital and others in rural areas of the state.
She said the association, consequently, decided to put resources together to procure and supply basic medical facilities to the hospitals and health centres to bridge the gap in providing basic health care services to the people, especially the vulnerable, children and women.
She said the items that cost several millions of naira include mattresses, laboratory tools, surgical equipment, cupboards, drawers and maternity facilities to serve as a lifeline to the hospital owing to the devastated state of its infrastructure to enable it continue to render basic healthcare services to the people, particularly to pregnant women and children.
“We saw video clips and pictures of women giving birth on the bare floor and doctors with their bare hands attending to them and when we made a presentation of those clips to some donors, they could not, but extend a hand of assistance, which we added to our own effort and raised the funds to intervene here,” she said.
She said many health facilities in rural areas need assistance and her group, which is an all Cross River women body, feels the need to reach out to those facilities in rural areas regularly to put live into them to position them to provide basic health care to rural dwellers in the state.
The rich abandon hospital for the poor
“This hospital was established in 1940 by colonial officials and was attending to both the rich and poor, but now, the rich do not come here again, it is only the poor and the facilities have been left to decay. We are concerned with the health of mostly the women and children in rural areas and so had to do something”.
Ogbeche said the group had been donating to widows, elderly women and children to assuage them of the pains of losing their breadwinners, adding that some of the old women do not have those to take them to hospital when they fall sick.