By Ononye VC
The St Martin Catholic Hospital And Maternity,Ugwu-Agba Obosi is unique in so many ways.
It is a place where you go and wish to visit again.It is a hospital where the management combines the principles and techniques of public relations in handling and treating patients.
This is not so in many other hospitals out there where patients are treated and handled like chickens.
I chanced a visit to the hospital with my professional colleague Nna Anulummadu out of curiosity to know the location of this popular area around Onitsha called Ugwu-Agba.
I discovered,just as Mungo Park discovered the River Niger that Ugwu- Agba Obosi shared the same geographical location with Awada,Onitsha and Ezeiweka road flanking Onitsha – Owerri Expressway.
It is the home of the popular second hand motor spare parts market popularly called Ngbuka Market.
Ugwu-Agba is a big world of its own where thousands of residents live peacefully and go about there business.What the community lack however are good roads and water.
So,as we arrived the hospital (St Martin),we were so lucky to meet the Hospital Manager Rev Fr Clement Ugoo Obi,a robust jolly good fellow who was happy we came around.
Fr Ugoo Obi is neither new or old in the vocation of priesthood.He was ordained on July 11 2015. Obi is known for his hardwork,creativity,initiative and good interpersonal skill with people around him.He is full of wits and humour.His ebony black complexion is a prize winner anywhere.
Looking around the hospital premises,it was serene and quiet.Everyone was busy.The hospital staff were working and smiling while the patients looked unruffled while those lying somewhat critical in their beds would look at Fr Obi with his visitors and were waving and smiling.
We saw pregnant women at the maternity section pacing up and down without qualms.
All corners of the hospital was clean and there was no odour assailing the nostrils.
According to Fr Obi,everyone in the hospital which include the staff and patients are treated like members of the same family.”We have a tracking system whereby we know all our patients; where they live and the kind of business they do.We have such data base and we keep in touch with them always.We pamper our patients because they are the reason we’re in business”.
He said that as a mission hospital, the workers and patients have had to pray together always and that he celebrates mass weekly in a section of the hospital to seek the face of God to grant the patients quick recovery.
From what we saw,the hospital enjoys all round power supply with emergency support of a giant standby generator.
We saw modern operating theatre gadgets/equipments,state of the art Chemistry Analyser,latest Ultra Sound machine,latest X-ray machine and Digitizer.
Under the Administration Department, Fr Obi changed the old filing system and introduced personalized folders.
At the Emergency Unit,Fr Ugochukwu kept two Sienna Ambulances on standby. He informed us that he works in collaboration with other mission hospitals like Borromeo for referrals.
At the peak of Covid-19 pandemic, Fr Obi said the hospital maintained strict Covid-19 protocols and sensitized everyone within the community.So,the hospital did not record any Covid-19 case.
He disclosed that Covid-19 palliatives and other essentials were provided for the hospital by the Archbishop of Onitsha,Most Reverend Valerian Okeke and also from the Hungarian humanitarian worker,Dr Reka Fodor.
“I am very grateful to our great Father,Most Reverend Valerian Okeke for his huge support to the hospital.The Archbishop assigns a duty to you and allows you to use your initiative.He has been assisting us in so many ways,” he pointed out.
The hospital has two resident doctors and five consultants who visit on the days of consultation.There is Consultant Paediatrician, a General Surgeon, Gynecologist,Consultant Optometrist,Ear,Nose and Throat(ENT) Consultant and Dental Surgeon.
Further more, the hospital has a weekly schedule for immunisation on Mondays,antenatal care on Tuesdays and HIV patients on Wednesdays.
“With regard to HIV patients,we work with the Family Health Insurance (FHI) in which we collaborate with hospitals like Borromeo, Waterside,Immaculate Heart and government hospitals. We give them drugs free and monitor their viral loads”.
It would be recalled that the hospital started modestly under Rev Fr Theophilus Odukwe between 1997/98 when there was no hospital or clinic around the area.
Fr Odukwe later invited the Clarissan Sisters led by Sr Mary Atusiuba.The first manager of the hospital was Rev Fr Fabian Moedu followed by Rev Fr Peter Anene and today,Rev Fr Celestine Ugoo Obi who took over as manager on 28th Dec.2018.
Fr Obi expressed gratitude to the Archbishop of Onitsha,Most Rev Valerian Okeke for giving life to many who have been saved through efficient running of the hospital as guided by him.
He also remembered the good works of the then Archdiocesan Director of Health Services,Rev Fr Dr Patrick Omutah (now late) and the incumbent Director and Vice Chancellor of the Archdiocese, Very Rev Fr Dr Basil Ekwunife.