One of the worst hit sectors in the over 11-year Boko Haram insurgency in Borno is the health sector.
Health centres in some of the local government areas of the state were destroyed, vandalised or burnt by the terrorists who thought that by destroying government facilities the people of the state and the government would bear the brunt of their crusade.
With the attacks in most of the local government areas which forced locals to flee to Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno State, the few health centres and facilities that were servicing the people became overstretched, thus causing crises in the health sector.
The congestion of the various internally displaced persons camps which accommodated citizens displaced by the insurgency made the IDPs camps prone to outbreak of diseases.
But alas with the coming of the North East Development Commission (NEDC) and its interventions in the various health centres in Maiduguri and environs especially, the State specialist hospital, the federal neuropsychiatric hospital Maiduguri, the 7 division military hospital Maimalari Cantonment and the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH ) , the challenges in health sector were minimised.
Medical equipment ranging from five-part haemotology analyser, high frequency mobile X-Ray machine, full-automatic analyser, V100 spectrophometre and electrolyte analyser were donated by the NEDC to the the benefiting hospitals .
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic ,the NEDC donated oxygen beds, ambulances and other equipment to the UMTH which services Borno and other parts of the Northeast.
NEDC understanding the nature of the war against insurgency and burns sustained by citizens whenever the terrorists bomb or burn some areas, built Burn Centre at the UMTH for the victims of fire or bomb blast.
The Commission equally built labour rooms extension at the UMTH to cushion the overstretched labour rooms in the hospital due to influx of internally displaced persons ( IDPs ) from the local government areas that were sacked by the terrorists.
Knowing that power generation in hospital matters most coupled with the over one year power challenges in Borno due to terrorism ; NEDC distributed power generators to the benefiting hospitals and donated 10,000 litres of diesel to UMTH.
The Managing Director of NEDC, Mr Mohammed Alkali, said at the donations that the commission was committed to interventions in healthcare system in the North East.
Thus, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Faruk who was a guest in one of the ceremonies for the donations lauded the NEDC for its interventions to the health sectors in the State.
At the 7 division military hospital where the NEDC donated medical equipment, the Minister represented by the Permanent Secretary of the federal ministry of health , Dr. Nasiru Gwarzo also lauded the military for sacrifices to the nation.
She gave the assurance that the NEDC will sustain its support to the military.
“What you are doing is not saving lives but also shaping the country. Make the best use of the equipment to save lives. A lot more will come,” the minister said.
In an address of welcome, the Commander of the hospital, Lt. Col. Adeniyi Ogunsakin, listed some of the donations to the hospital from the commission to include an ambulance, medical consumables among others.
Ogunsakin thanked the commission for the support, saying that the equipment would help to improve the hospital’s performance.
The General Officer Commanding 7 Division Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Waidi Shuaibu, and the Theatre Commander, Operation Hadin Kai in North East, Maj. Gen. Christopher Musa, also lauded the commission for the sustained support.
They gave the assurance that the facilities would be properly used.
“We will ensure maintenance of the equipment for maximum benefit,” Musa said.
The NEDC team also visited Federal Nuero Psychiatric Hospital, Maiduguri, and were recieved by the Chief Medical Director, Professor Ibrahim Wakawa.
At the Neuropsychiatric hospital, NEDC handed over 500 KVA generator, Analog X-Ray machine with Digitizer, State of the Art Ultra-sound Machine with 3 probes among other medical consumables.
At the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, NEDC donated and handed over 200 beds , ambulances which were recieved by the Chief Medical Director, Professor Ahmed Ahijo.
As one of the greatest beneficiaries of the NEDC intervention in Borno, the Chief Medical Director UMTH, Prof Ahmed Ahidjo, noted that the hospital has been receiving numerous assistance from the Commission through different interventions.
Ahidjo said the first time UMTH recieved assistance from the NEDC was during the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic when things were hard and the hospital lacked where to get assistance to handle infected patients.
The CMD said the Commission looked holistically and donated medical items not only to the UMTH but to other federal and state hospitals across the region.
He said being that the terrorists’ activities included bombing of communities and villages thereby leading to injuries relating to burns, getting a centre to treat victims of burns became a challenge until the NEDC established Burn Centre at the UMTH.
He said the burn Centre was not only built in UMTH but also in Yola with the one in Maiduguri servicing victims of burns from states of Bauchi, Yobe and Gombe.
“Also recently, the NEDC gave us a full 500kva generator used in maintaining the Burn Centre and other facilities in the hospital. During the COVID-19, they gave us ambulance to convey COVID-19 patients. Recently, when we cried to the Commission, they constructed new labour ward for us which now enabled pregnant women to give birth comfortably in privacy,” Ahidjo said.
He recalled how the NEDC assisted the hospital with 10,000 litres of diesel while power failure persisted in the state.