President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday anchored a virtual inauguration of five landmark capital projects at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.
The President added that his government is committed to the provision of adequate healthcare to citizens.
President Buhari said the completion of the projects aptly reflects the Federal government’s commitment to sustaining development in the North East, and indeed in all parts of the country to engender economic growth, peace and progress.
He said: “I assure you of my commitment to improve healthcare delivery services all over Nigeria.
“Emerging diseases have made it necessary for all nations to increase and improve resource application for coping with the challenges or adapting to the ‘new normal’.
”This goes on in Borno State side by side with efforts to tackle insurgency and criminal activities.”
Among landmark projects inaugurated by the President were a newly constructed and fully equipped 150-bed Trauma Centre, a new General Outpatient Department, a complex for National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), a multipurpose Auditorium and Conference Centre constructed and furnished by Borno State government.
Also inaugurated was a new female hostel for the UMTH School of Nursing, constructed by the Federal government and Physical Rehabilitation Centre, by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Responding to a request made earlier by Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, the President directed the Head of Service of the Federation and the Budget Office to consider an increase in the personnel and overhead allocation of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH).
President Buhari noted that the increase in personnel and allocation at UMTH would optimise services provided by the activation of the new projects.
The President added that the value of the projects at the UMTH, which is a Centre of Excellence in Infectious diseases and Immunology in Nigeria, to the nation’s health care system cannot be underestimated, especially in the era of global health system challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the 150-bed Trauma centre which comes with a helipad, the President expressed delight that it will provide modern multidisciplinary care facilities to injured persons from within and outside Maiduguri, in addition to reducing the need for referral to other centres.
President Buhari said that the intention of the government to render affordable and quality health care with broad coverage will be boosted with the completion of the General Outpatient Department and the National Health Insurance Scheme complex.
“I urge citizens to take advantage of the improved facility, as I appeal to operators of these excellent facilities to imbibe the maintenance culture and ensure optimum utilization,” he said.
President Buhari also commended the collaborative programmes of the teaching hospital with indigenous, international, non-governmental bilateral and multilateral donors and partners, like the Physical Rehabilitation Centre, which is a product of the engagement with the International Committee of the Red Cross ICRC.
”This Centre is now fully operational in this era of reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement in Borno State.
”At this centre, complete physical rehabilitation that includes physiotherapy and fitting of limb prosthesis can be undertaken locally, to end the need for outside referral.
”I express Nigeria’s deep appreciation to ICRC and other partners engaged in collaboration assistance,” he said.
Commending the Management and Board of the UMTH and the Ministry of Health on their performance, President Buhari said:
”Nigeria is proud of your achievements. I urge all staff to continue to work together harmoniously, to ensure successful delivery of other ongoing capital projects in the hospital, for the benefit of citizens who seek care here.”
In his remark, Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, thanked the federal government for supporting the State in overcoming its health challenges, by constructing some of the projects.
“These landmark projects are timely, considering the health challenges the State is facing as a result of lingering security challenges. Therefore, the State government will continue to partner with the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital in the area of specialized training and retraining of medical practitioners, for the provision of basic healthcare needs to the people of Borno State.
“We must commend the federal government under the leadership of President Buhari for this giant stride in the health sector. This institution has never witnessed such developmental projects since its inception,” he said.
The Governor announced that the State will soon embark on the construction of a teaching hospital for its State University.
There were goodwill messages from the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, as well as the World Health Organisation and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Governor Zulum commended the Federal for the laudable projects executed under the Buhari administration in Borno.
He said, “this institution (UMTH) has never witnessed such laudable developmental projects at once, from its inception to date. Mr President, we appreciate all the good projects”.
On efforts by Borno government in the area of healthcare, the Governor explained in this year 2020 alone, his administration has started from scratch, 50 new health centres across various local governments in the state. He added that many other health centres were rehabilitated and furnished with modern equipments.
Zulum also noted that Borno has approved the recruitment of more than 500 qualified doctors, nurses, other health workers and re-engage retired personnel, for deployment to healthcare centres where medical services are most needed by citizens.
The CMD University of Maiduguri teaching Hospital professor Ahmed Ahidjo who spoke at the newly constructed Auditorium said ” the UMTH was established in 1983 and is it the largest teaching hospital in the north eastern part of Nigeria.
“With the commissioning of today’s projects we raised the total bed capacity of the hospital from 630 to 800 beds, and when the ongoing projects are completed the beds capacity will be raised to more than 1200 capacity.
In another development, Governor Zulum, has started the construction of a teaching hospital and a college of medical sciences to enable Borno State University to eventually start the award of degree in medicine and surgery as well as other medical programmes.
Governor Zulum said: “In fulfilment of the criteria for the establishment of medical colleges, we are here to witness a foundation laying ceremony for the two important projects. We want to start medical courses especially medicine etc in the state university so that we can produce healthcare providers and undertake research as well. But aside academic purposes, we know that there is increasing population in Maiduguri and we have only one teaching hospital, and Maiduguri has population of over 3 million inhabitants. A new teaching hospital will serve the increasing population, and this is also in line with our development plan. Just five days ago we have launched our 25 year Development Plan, the state university teaching hospital and college of medical sciences are part of that plan we are implementing”.
The chairman of the committee for the establishment of Borno State University Teaching Hospital/Medical College, Prof. Othman Kyari said the project flagged off was the first phase.