University College Hospital (UCH)

The University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State, is capable of resolving the brain drain and medical tourism challenges plaguing the nation’s health sector.

Prof. Temitope Alonge, the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, made the assertion on Monday at a news briefing to herald the week-long activities lined-up for the 60thanniversary of UCH.

According to him, UCH has now become a stop-gap between the private and general hospitals in the country through intervention in form of private suites for those who patronise the private health facilities.

“The advantage of private suites for patients is that it offers facilities, equipment and qualified specialists in various fields to attend to their needs at a specified cost.

“At the same time, we still handle other needs of patients in the area of general provision of healthcare services they require,” he said.

Alonge said that private suites were designed to render quality healthcare services to those who could afford to pay.

He said that this had encouraged inward medical tourism in Nigeria.

Alonge said that the rationale of developing the private suites concept was to discourage medical tourism abroad and enable patients to depend less and still get quality services.

“Private suites have separate laboratory, ultra-sound, diagnostic centre, operating theatre as well as executive suites.

“They are also equipped with two High Dependency Units (HDU) with a crash cart, oxygen and Dangerous Drugs Administrative (DDA) section monitored by a matron to prevent abuse of the strong drugs (opiates/morphines).’’

According to Wikipaedia, the free encyclopaedia, Morphine is a pain medication of the opiate type which is found naturally in a number of plants and animals.

“It acts directly on the central nervous system (CNS) to decrease the feeling of pain. It can be taken for both acute pain and chronic pain.

“Morphine is frequently used for pain from myocardial infarction and during labour.’’

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Alonge disclosed that UCH, which took- off as a 350-bed hospital at its inception in 1957, had grown to a 1000-bed hospital, with bed occupancy between 60 to 70 per cent.

He added that the hospital was able to survive the 60 years through the meagre resources from the government subvention with the philanthropic gestures and the Private Public Partnership (PPP) projects.

“The Tony Anennih Geriatric Centre which was built, equipped and donated by a philanthropist, Chief Tony Annenih in 2012, has treated 30,000 old people in the last five years.

“In view of its (UCH) peculiarity in geriatric medicine in West Africa and African sub-region, the centre can no longer meet with the teeming daily demands five years after.

“A Geriatric Rehabilitation Centre will be inaugurated during this week-long programme to meet with the demands.

“We have provided health insurance scheme of N18, 000 annually for the patients that are 60 years and above.

“The patients only pay 50 per cent for drugs, consultancy and tests at the centre,” he said.

Alonge said the hospital management was working on a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), adding that funds would be raised to ensure its effective take-off.

He explained that the Cancer Unit in the hospital was being upgraded, noting that the management was discussing with a first generation bank to fund the equipment needed in the unit, which would be ran through PPP.

The chief medical director said that UCH had under-studied the Buffalo Cancer Centre, oldest and largest cancer centre in the world for innovations that would improve the unit.

“The Federal Ministry of Health has been approached to assist in procuring another Cobalt 60 machine for radiotherapy,” he said.