Nigeria: LAUTECH hospital, second best in medicine in West Africa
LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, Osun State is one of the foremost state-owned teaching hospitals in the South-western Nigeria. For a state hospital that has passed through different phases and challenges since its inception, Professor Olufemi Fadiora, its Chief Medical Director says it remains a leading institution in training doctors, as corroborated by the West African College of Physicians’ rating its medicine department as second best in the region. Professor Fadiora spoke to Sade Oguntola. Excerpts:
What are the health services you offer? Are there new services and equipment to support good healthcare services?
On the taking off of my administration, there was no hospital, no doctor or patients. Everything was grounded, so we resuscitated the hospital to its present situation. We have brought a lot of equipment for the hospital, which spanned all the departments including the family medicine, surgery, laboratory and obstetrics and gynaecology. Other units such as the oxygen plant and the drug production unit have also being created.
What range of services does the hospital now offer as a result of its newly acquired equipment and units? We have the palliative unit, which services those with terminal illnesses such as cancer. They also do home visits and medicine. It is manned by a medical doctor, a specialist in this aspect of medicine. There are also resident doctor on training at the unit.
Now, we carry out laparoscopy surgery. This entails the use of equipment that can serve both curative and investigative purposes. Its usefulness comes to play in cases of fibroid, infertility and so on. Through a little opening that is created in the abdomen, we remove the appendix, gallbladder, and so on.
There is also liposuction equipment, which can help people get rid of their fat tummies. With this equipment acquired about two months ago, the fat can be sucked out, thereby helping the people to slim down. The unit is manned by plastic surgeons. People with fat tummies and buttocks can benefit from this service.
Liposuction is the same as the tummy tuck surgery, which people talked about some years back. At the physiotherapy unit, such people can also access equipment to help them lose weight and keep fit.
In the mortuary, we also have a lot of new equipment. This includes equipment that can lift a dead body from the morgue. We have new morgues, which were acquired about six months ago. So, there are now three morgues that can take 12 bodies each at a time. The mortuary is clean; it does not smell and people that stay near the hospital can bear witness to this. At the medicine department, we have an equipment that is used to study the breathing pattern and rhythm. Lung functions of patients with problems such as asthma and pneumonia can be assessed.
Any facility to help people with infertility problems? There are equipment to do sperm analysis so as to be able to help couples with infertility or what is termed assisted conception. The hospital, before now, had sent some staff for training on assisted conception abroad. This was about two years ago. In fact, they already have many success stories.
What are some achievements of the hospital? Our medicine department was rated second best by West African College of Physicians about six months ago. They set up a committee to move around all the hospitals in West Africa and assess the medicine departments.
We have imparted a lot to medical knowledge. We have produced residents that are the best in their various areas of medicine. For example, the best resident doctor in the West African College of Surgeons in Community Medicine is from this hospital.
Also, the best student in surgery in the West African College of Surgeons last year also came from this hospital. So, we have good products and we have also made it mandatory that all our resident doctors and consultants should go outside the country for training or conferences at least once a year. The hospital picks the bill.
What we are trying to do is to expose them and ensure that our resident doctors and consultants have international exposures by attending international workshops and conferences.
There are about 100 resident doctors at different stages of training and in different departments. In fact, some people are travelling abroad to acquire more outside experience for periods ranging from three to six months.
Who picks their bills? The hospital foots such bills. The money is from the hospital’s internally generated revenue from such things as the oxygen plant, the drug production unit, and the high influx of patients to the hospital.
How pocket-friendly are treatments offered at this hospital? The cost of care at the hospital is moderate and far cheaper than what obtains in many teaching hospitals in the country.
At your drug production unit, what drugs are produced? We produce drugs such as vitamin C and paracetamol syrups currently. We intend before the end of the year to start producing tablets and capsules. These had impacted positively on patient care, since we are sure of the quality of the drugs they are taken.
What other programmes are in the pipeline to ensure the smooth running of services? Very soon, the hospital services such as medical records, including the wards will be computerised. All the clinics, including the pathology unit are also to be computerised. Work on actualising this has reached an advanced stage. At the moment, training is ongoing to ensure its smooth take off. Within the next few months, you will not see people carrying patient information folders up and down any more. Mind you, with the computerisation of our records, exchange of medical test results for expert’s opinion and improved patient care, will be enhanced.
But some people are not receptive to changes. What will be done to ensure everybody is carried along? By training and retraining, such a challenge will be surmounted. Of course, some of this training will be taken into consideration for the promotion of all beneficiaries at the appointed time. When people know that some of these things are linked to their promotion, they will be forced to join the moving train. Mind you, we are not sacking anybody. People only need to align with the modern way of doing things so that we will not be found wanting. This will also help us to keep a permanent record, not like those in paper form that some are already half torn.
What are the checks and balances to prevent unauthorised people accessing the hospital’s data bank? We going to have checks and balances. For example, the Chief Medical Director will be the only person to have access to information at the highest level. A person in community medicine department will only be able to access data about patients in that department.
The hospital now has an amenity ward, which is totally different from the other wards. What led to the establishment of these wards? Some patients will prefer such a facility. We believe that it is not everybody that will love an open ward. Also, it is only physically sick persons that should come to the hospital. Somebody that is stressed up can also come to the hospital for relaxation.
Stress is a kind of sickness. It is not until somebody develops hypertension or stroke that you say a person is sick. When you are stressed up, you can come to the hospital, and that is one of the reasons why we made the amenity ward to be of standard. You can come to our amenity ward to rest. Facilities like this are necessary nowadays in our hospitals, where people pass through a lot of stress or require some level of privacy.
If you are in the amenity ward, people are available to attend to your needs. You will also be attended to privately by our doctors in the ward, without stepping out to the normal clinic area. The time of consultation can also be determined by the patient, unlike in the normal clinics.
The hospital’s service monitoring unit, how has that been helpful in the delivery of services? This unit gets feedbacks from patients, whether they are satisfied with the services we offered, and if there is any problem, they let us know. They also guide patients by giving information. Aside being stationed at the accident and emergency unit, the personnel also move around the hospital.
Is it true that patients at the obstetrics and gynaecology department are given their medical consultants’ phone numbers to call if in distress? Is it the case with all units in the hospital? Yes, this is the practice that has been on for sometime in all the units in the hospital. In paediatrics, the mothers are given the phone numbers of their children’s doctors, for example, to engender close relationship between them and our doctors. Even if they call and their consultant is not around, he would be able to direct them as to whom to see.
Even in emergency situations, being able to reach their medical consultants by patients is helpful in that it affords them the opportunity of knowing what to do promptly before coming to the hospital.
What are some prevalent diseases attended to at the hospital? The commonest communicable disease is malaria while for non- communicable diseases, it is cancer. It is one of the reasons why the palliative care unit was also established.
Besides, the hospital is expanding to a large plot of land across the hospital has been acquired for expansion. This will afford us the opportunity of having an accident and emergency complex. Other units such as the engineering department will also be relocated there.
The School of Post Basic Nursing and Information Technology is also under construction at the other side of the road. Already, the central laboratory building is under construction.
The cardiothoracic and the dental units are to start very soon so that we can embark on heart surgeries. The dental unit will commence within the next two months. The additions are to make a complete treatment available to everybody.
Already, we are awaiting the equipment for the dental centre before bringing in the dental doctors to man the place. The building to house the unit is ready.
Of course, our neurology unit has achieved many feats as well. We have done the separation of a baby with two heads, which was about eight months ago. We have handed different types of spinal surgery and head injury cases.