June 8th 2013, I was in a park at Ado-Ekiti, the capital of Ekiti state and was in a bus heading towards Port Harcourt, Nigeria. I had just completed my National Youth Service Corps, a programme designed for graduates in Nigeria to serve the country for a year, usually in locations different from the states of their origin and residence.
My service year had been eventful, two days before that day, I was standing on the podium at Christ College Ado-Ekiti venue for the Batch 12B passing out parade. My citation was been read before dignitaries, I smiled as I heard the MC murder my name and that of my home town Rumuji.
Almost a year before that time, I had typed the word ‘Ekiti state ‘ on goggle. I had just been posted to do my Youth Service in Ekiti state. I also called friends serving there to know how much doctors in Ekiti state were paid during the service year. The responses I got were not encouraging.
In camp, I tried to hear word and I participated fully in the camp clinic, and when the mandatory orientation camp was concluded, I was asked where I wanted to be posted to. Well from the background information I got, the most juiciest places were Federal Medical Centre Ido-Ekiti, the health centre in the Ekiti State University, “Who no like better thing”. I was also warned to avoid a certain place called Ilejemeje LGA, well everyone who I met talked bad about the place, words also spread in camp that the place was filled with snakes.
When the list for our posting came out, I had prepared my mind to go to my choice locations only for me to see General Hospital Iye-Ekiti, Ilejemeje LGA…Kai… “Wetyn I go do?”
I located the bus taking us there easily, most people were weeping profusely in the bus. The journey from the orientation camp in Ise-Emure to Ilejemeje where I was posted seemed like eternity. When I arrived at the General Hospital where I was posted to, I felt pity for myself. Maybe I expected a lot, the hospital was a far cry from what I thought a hospital should be like. Even my rural postings did not prepared me for this.
My options were clear redeploy, to your choice place or run back home. However, for reasons I still can’t explain, I felt at home. My first call in that facility would eventually be a turning point for me. A child with bronchopneumonia in Heart Failure was brought in. “This na small thing” I said to myself. I prescribed the drugs and also instructed the baby should be on oxygen and then I heard something like
“Dokita kosi oxygen oh… we don’t even have an empty oxygen cylinder” and that was how I painfully had to refer that child to FMC Ido-Ekiti, I still don’t know what happened to that child.
And then the rain fell and the rain did not seem to understand it was supposed to fall outside and not inside the ward. The beds had to be shifted to avoid them having a bath.
Also this hospital which was supposed to be a General Hospital did not have a theatre hence minor surgeries and cases that would require an emergency surgical intervention had to be referred to the FMC, EKSUTH Ado-Ekiti or the General Hospital Otun – Ekiti.
Despair turned into a sense of compassion and huge responsibility and the next few weeks was given to strategic planning and consultation and with the help of the then Medical Director Dr Ajekiigbe Sola (one of the kindest hearts I have met) these objectives were drawn.
To set up a functional theatre, to make the hospital more viable, to improve the morale of the hospital community, to make life saving equipments available, to make the hospital more attractive, to increase the revenue generated by the hospital and to teach members of the community how to improve their own health.
And so the journey started, I called a dear friend and elder brother Dr. Abiye Kalaiwo. I told him what I had in mind and he encouraged me to go on. He also gave his seed too. I also called a mentor and the executive director of Pro Health International Dr. Iko Ibanga, his words and mails set fire on me.
I had to talk with the Medical Director of the hospital again Dr. Ajekiigbe Sola who took the project personal. He took me in his car to the Gen Hospital Otun. A hospital we usually referred our surgical patients to. We went to see how their theatre was and how it was run. The next was a mental construction of how our theatre would look like and a paper design.
And then I had to see permission from the NYSC leadership in Ekiti State to commence the project which they gladly accepted and approved. The next was to meet the stakeholders in the LGA.
And the project began earnestly; truly there were plenty of challenges. From resistance from some people in the community who I thought should know better, to paucity of funds. But to God be the glory, all the objectives were met.
I still remember vividly the first operation in the theatre on the 23rd of April 2013, I also remember vividly the first CS in the theatre, I remember vividly how the blue baby turned pink when he received intra-nasal oxygen and how I smiled when he began to cry, I remember how I felt when asthmatics were nebulized; ironically while I was still serving an NYSC official who was going to another state was rushed to the hospital with symptoms of acute exacerbation of asthma, I remember how they thanked me when her symptoms improved after nebulization.
These little projects which started from a dream has given joy to the entire Local government and the people of Ekiti Stat. From 0 surgeries the General Hospital Iye-Ekiti has performed hundreds of surgeries which include ceaseraean sections , myomectomies, hysterectomies , hernioraphies, appendectomies and other minor surgeries. I smile as I remember a thank you call I got from a nurse who had a ruptured uterus and was managed in the theatre… Ese gon
I specially want to thank everyone that played their part in making this a reality…This list is in no way exhaustive
Rev. Fr Polycarp Henetu, Dr Linda Iroegbu, Dr Elele Emeka, Prof Chukwudi Onyeaso, Dr Ibinabo Austin Membere, Mrs Ngozi Onwuka, Evangelist Ernest Uzoho. Thank you so much for your contribution.
Thank you so much Dr. Gerald Curtis, Dr. Augustine Ayenor, Chioma Odu, Emeka Henry the hospital corps staff 3 years ago, they were really sent from God.
To all Corps members who served in Ekiti State, and members of NCCF Ilejemeje zone, thank you for your love and prayers that year. Thank you Papa Oluwatobi Adeleke, all executive members and all the Gs and people that made this dream a reality, you have saved lives.
Special thanks to all the hospital staff Nurses Aromasodu, Oni Oluwakemi Adeola, Oluwasegun Tolulope, Anifowose Kenny Yemi, Daramola Magret Ibigbami, Adenike Oyebade-Olatoye, Adeniyi Comfort Toluwalope , Abolarinwa Peter ‘tunde, Oluwalana Ayobami Ijalana, Ogunleye Adesola Adedara, Halimah Oseni Muddassir, and all other nurses not mentioned,
Thank you Mr. Austin our laboratory technician, God bless you all.
Also special thanks to Kabiyesi, His Royal Highness, Oba Jonathan A Adeleye-Oni Asoludero Ilufemiloye 1, the Oniye of Iye Ekiti for his support for this project, thank you for also commissioning the projects for the use of your people.
Truly Giant strides begin with little steps, make a difference today