The Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Dr Azubuike Onyebuchi, has said that the second Sovereign Wealth Laboratory in Nigeria, being put up at the hospital, will be ready for inauguration by January 2020.
Onyebuchi made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen in his office, saying that the laboratory had reached more than 95 per cent completion.
He said that the installation and testing of the various modern diagnostic equipment as well as training of manpower to man the facility were presently at their final stages.
He said that the facility would commence full operation between January ending and early week of February 2020.
Onyebuchi said that the project was a pilot scheme of the Federal Government being executed by the Sovereign Wealth Investment Authority through Public Private Partnership (PPP).
He said the first of the Sovereign Wealth Laboratory was sited at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, with the second project coming up at the FMC, Umuahia.
“It will be one of the most sophisticated diagnostic centres that you can get anywhere in the world and the people of Abia, the entire Southeast and Nigerians will be better for it,” he said.
He said that the facility would have the state-of-the-art equipment for the theatre, radiology, ultrasound, mammogram, Citiscan and X-rays, amongst other modern diagnostic machines.
Onyebuchi said that it would be digitised and automated for all types of blood test with the results linked to the doctors and delivered to their cellphones via short message service.
“It is going to improve service delivery tremendously and all the doctors are excited and cannot afford to wait for its take off,” he said.
He said the cost would be affordable to Nigerians from all walks of life.
The medical director, who assumed office at the hospital on April 15, also spoke on the ongoing projects in the hospital, including the construction of a modern Accident and Emergency Unit (A and E Unit) and hostel accommodation for all the hospital interns.
He said that he was persuaded to embark on the projects because he was not impressed with the situation he met on ground.
“When I assumed office, the first place I visited was the A and E Unit and I was not happy with what I saw. It did not look modern.
It was small and some patients were lying on the floor,” adding that he pushed and lobbied the National Assembly to approve funds for the project to take off.
He said that with the support of the board and management of the hospital, he commenced the construction of the two projects as captured in the 2019 budgets to be completed in 2020,” he said.
He described the projects as critical to the reslisation of his dream to make the hospital renowned for efficient and quality service delivery.
Onyebuchi expressed joy that his initiative to motivate the hospital staff members had started paying off with incressed productivity and improved patient care.
He said he also introduced measures that helped to block financial leakages and enhance the hospital’s internally generated revenue.
He said that there had been a significant reduction in the time spent by patients to access services in the hospital, including accessing the doctor, drugs at the pharmacy and laboratory services.
“This is a patient-centred hospital so we are taking measures to see that our patients get the most efficient and quality medical attention.
This is why we strengthened the SERVICOM Department to ensure quality service delivery and that erring staff members were dealt with according to the civil service rule,” he said.
He said that the hospital charges remained what they were when he assumed office and compared largely with what obtained in neighbouring sister-health institutions.
Onyebuchi said that he would continue to improve on what he met on ground, adding that motivation of staff for greater harmony and productivity and a conducive environment for patients would remain his top priority.
According to him, “my vision is driven by the admonition by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire (then Minister of State), when I was appointed that I should go to FMC, Umuahia and make the place conducive.”