All may not be well with the Yariman Bakura Specialist Hospital in Gusau Zamfara state as crises of confidence is looming deep into its operation and likely leading to its structural and clinical collapse.
Last two weeks, the professional staffs of the hospitals comprising of consultants, Professors and other experts required in a Specialist Hospital proceeded on strike action on the ground that they were not paid their eight months entitlements.
The development has sparked another fear that the Hospital is losing its deserving credibility as one of the best tertiary health institution in the North.
The crises are however attributed to many factors including the deliberate attempt by some powerful interest within the polity to effect the most undesirable changes in the act establishing the Hospital and the leadership incompetency as well.
The Hospital is now rated as the lowest in terms of service delivery as people loses hope in its productive capacity to saving lives through multiple records of casualties recorded which is attributed to poor management as well as incompetency in the political administration of the facility.
THE STATUS OF THE HOSPITAL BEFORE NOW
Experts in the health sector are of the opinion that during the reign of the former Medical Director Dr. Bello Kwatarkwashi, the hospital was rated as one of the best state owned Specialist Hospital in the entire Northern Nigeria.
The former MD who is now the Medical Director of the Federal Medical Center Gusau took his time to develop initiatives that made the Hospital very vibrant and effective hence patients with critical cases have been referred on several occassions and from different part of the North to the hospital for advance medical consideration.
He secured the interest of many renown professional and medical experts that one can think of in the North to come and offer advance medical and clinical services to the patients.
He championed the commencement of kidney dialysis and also ensure that he has secured advance medical facilities to make the dialysis department effectively functional.
He also secured the permit to begin residency programmes for medical practitioners aiming to become consultants in various areas of specialties with very good recommendations from the statutory and regulatory bodies.
The successful stewardship of Dr. Bello Kwatarkwashi earned him the most deserving recommendation for appointment as the Medical Director of the Federal Medical Center Gusau, Zamfara State.
HOW THINGS BEGIN TO CHANGE
According to findings by this medium the selection and single handed appointment of the current Medical Director Dr. Shanawa was opposed by critical stakeholders in the health sector.
A staff in the gynaecology department who craved for anonymity told this medium that since the day the current medical director was appointed, many forecasted that the achievements recorded by his predecessor may suffer defeat because he does not have the requisite leadership exposure and network of medical alliance to run the hospital and sustained the momentum set up by his predecessors.
The source added that why people from the hospital became scared was because politics was put behind his consideration for appointment and they predicted that there may be compromise across all levels in his quest to build from the achievements of his predecessors.
Another source said, under the reign of the current Medical Director many experienced surgeons and medical consultants employed on permanent and pensionable appointments had left the services of the hospital due to poor condition of service as well as renumeration.
It was learned that the only hope that awaits the hospital was the availability of the visiting consultants/professionals who had since started living especially after they spent about eight months without being paid their monthly entitlements.
“You can see for the first time senior clinical staff of Yariman Bakura Specialist hospital are withdrawing their services from the hospital due to non payment of their entitlements and the failure from the leadership of the hospital to ensure coordination between the hospital and ministry of finance” a female staff nurse anonymously stated.
THE GENERAL CONDITION OF THE HOSPITAL
A source from medical record department who does not want to be named said, the hospital since its establishment is now operating without power supply as patients are admitted and abandoned in the dark.
He added that for two weeks now, PHCN had disconnected its services from the hospital and the management is reluctant in getting the light fixed to save the patients from further suffering especiallyas they complained of not having funds adequately required to made procure diesel and maintained the generators within the health facility.
Another source told this medium that “for many months now the management of the hospital have not been able to procure diesel and operate the stand-by generator owned by the hospital hence they always claimed that the money is not available for the procurement of diesel”.
He added that, “last weeks during APC campaign rally in Maradun, some supporters became involved in an accident and they were rushed to Yariman Bakura Specialist Hospital for medical attention and surprisingly however, they could not under go operation due to lack of diesel in the generator not until when Musa Zubairu one of the APC politicians advance some money for the procurement of a drum of diesel for them to undergo the slated operation.
“The Environmental condition of the hospital is also another source of concern hence the general cleanliness is not as effective as it used to be and the hospital is gradually declining from its status of being a standard tertiary health facility to a lower standard one that common people cannot admire to visit.
HUMAN RESOURCE AVAILABILITY AND EFFICIENCY
Based on the findings by this medium, highly experienced medical personals appointed on permanent and pensionable arrangement had left the services of the hospital and moved to other serious places like FMC Gusau and UDUTH Sokoto.
The visiting professionals as highlighted earlier had already started exiting the service of the hospital due to lack of concern by the management of the hospital to take charge of their basic needs.
Even the new entries who are fresh from University work for some months and work their ways to another serious health facilities where they would get serious mentorship from the experience hands.
The hospital has now become one of the exit pipe for health professionals who started from the scratch and work through their experience to get another alternative health care facilities that has conducive working environment.
THE AMENDMENT OF THE PRINCIPAL ACT ESTABLISHING THE HOSPITAL AND REMOVAL OF ITS AUTONOMY
There are stakeholders that are of the views that, the recent amendment of the principal act establishing the hospital and consequent removal of its autonomy remain the basis of the crises encountered by the hospital.
A staff of the Ministry of Health told this medium on confidence that the pressure mounted by the powers that be at the level of the Ministry of Health to getting the autonomy of the Yariman Bakura Specialist Hospital removed by all cost remain the solid factor responsible for its present predicament.
The hospital has now lost control of so many things including the powers to recruit its staffers and payment of their monthly salaries and other entitlements.
The recent protest by the professional and visiting staff of the hospital may not be unconnected with the inability to get to a meeting point between the state Ministry of Finance and the hospitals management over implementation of some strategic payments and regular release of impress and running cost for the hospital.
A member of one of the professional health bodies in Zamfara told this medium in confidence that the current Commissioner of Health is complicating issues in the health sector especially with efforts he has been making to removing autonomy of most of the health agencies which have been under the direct control and supervision of the Executive Governor.
“The law establishing ASYBSH is crafted in such a way as to free the institution from the unnecessary bureaucratic redtapism characterised in ministerial incompetence and commissioners manipulations in the name of politics” A source added.
He added that, “Just like the National Hospital Abuja is directly under the presidency, ASYBSH was put directly answerable to the Governor through the Secretary to the Stage Government.
During the tenure of former Governor Abdul’aziz Yari’s tenure Yariman Bakura Specialist Hospital was his darling project.
The source added that, “an attempt was made to bring down the status of the hospital to ministerial level in 2020 and the Governor gave his approval to that effect, I had to personally wade in with the understanding and support of the then Secretary to the State Government to block the move.
THE LOGICAL STAND OF YARIMAN BAKURA SPECIALIST HOSPITAL
An elder statesman said, “We knew how much effort we put to get ASYBSH the accreditation status and from every indication that status will soon be lost for three main reasons decay in infrastructures, dirty nature of the environment, lack of qualified personnel to handle doctors on residency in ability to retain medical doctors employed on permanent and pensionable appointments as well as disgusting environment.
REFUSAL OF THE MANAGEMENT OF ASYBSH TO RESPOND TO FOI LETTERS BY THUNDER BLOWERS
It is not clear as to the reasons why the management of Yariman Bakura hospital refused to respond to the inquiry we have made through two different FOI letters we have sent regarding some of the issues highlighted above in this article.
The refusal of the management to respond to our inquiries after given adequate time as stipulated by the FOI Act (2021 as amended) may be some clear Indications that the confessions made by some of the people we have interviewed are genuine.