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Surgical patients still awaiting Dangote’s pledge••• 14 months after demolition of theatre


The hospital

The hospital

ANY patient in critical need of surgical operation at the Murtala Muhammed Specialist Hospital, Kano would have to book two weeks ahead or rather seek alternative care elsewhere.

The reason behind this situation is not far- fetched. The existing general theatre at the state-owned hospital was demolished 14 months ago, with a pledge that it would be reconstructed by rich businessman, Aliko Dangote.

But after the symbolic foundation- laying for the theatre, witnessed by Govvernor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and Alh. Aliko Dangote work at the site had remained at a standstill.

Murtala Muhammed Specialist hospital, one of the state’s tertiary medical center, is the oldest general hospital in Kano and has the largest inflow of patients.

Before the demolition of the old theatre, a senior medical officer in the hospital who pleaded anonymity told The Guardian that it was the only operating suit being shared for all surgical care in the hospital.

According to the source: “ The theatre is being shared on a daily basis by various professionals for different operations. Ordinarily it was not supposed to be so. For instance general surgical team has three teams, A, B and C.”

“The teams will use it for like let’s say Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Then the Neuro-surgery team will take the next day and the pediatric will also use it for the next appointment. Apart from this arrangement the emergency operation can come on emergency purpose and you know what that means,” the source hinted.

The Guardian gathered that apart from the poor condition of the theater before it was leveled, most equipment and surgical facilities were already obsolete, coupled with poor maintenance.

The old theater, which was constructed by the colonial masters, was still in its old and dilapidated state, housing a single surgical bed for all sorts of operations and had since passed through successive administrations in the state with little or no attention.

However, what many thought would have brought succour to the age-long pains of poor patients is now turning even more deeply devastating as the renewed hope pledged by Dangote seems unrealistic.
Worsen still, the contractor earlier mobilized on site has vacated the site leaving many hopeless.

Chairman of Murtala Muhammad Hospital Patients Friends Association, a patient welfare support organization Alh. Babantadi Satatima, told The Guardian the abandonment of the theater is aggravating the suffering of the poor patients in the hospital on a daily basis.

“ People die in the hospital everyday simply because they need surgical attention and there is no theatre. We are aware Dangote promised to construct a new theater in the hospital, but more than a year now nothing has happened on the site since the demolition of the old theater.”

“Anybody who needs surgical care now would have to wait for weeks now at the emergency unit or they look elsewhere, which might be more expensive. We want to plead on Dangote to please look into this situation. Please we are suffering, “ Satatima lamented.

When contacted Commissioner for Health in the state Dr. Abubakar Labaran Yusuf told journalists that “ the state government is expecting Alh. Aliko Dangote to commence the construction of the theatre very soon.”

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