Nasarawa: Exploits in health sector

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From Abel Leonard, Lafia

he Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital (DASH), Lafia, Nasarawa State, is making waves for the right reason. Its exploits include but not limited to bringing healthcare delivery to the doorsteps of the people.

DASH is an integral part of the Abdullahi Sule’s administration health initiative. This became a reality with the completion of Nasarawa State Infectious Disease, Diagnosis and Research Centre, Lafia. It is strategically situated behind the main building of DASH.  It is considered to be one of the signature legacies of Governor Abdullahi Sule’s administration.

Director of the centre, Dr Dangana Usman George, told Daily Sun: “The centre is equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities. It has provision of Biosafety levels tow and three laboratories, an isolation ward, Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), an administrative structure.

Its conference hall has a reservation area for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which makes it readily available for research work in terms of having a teaching hospital.”

He explained that the diagnosis of several infectious diseases, such as Lassa fever, Yellow Fever, measles, Cerebro Spinal Meningitis, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic were conducted outside the state. Now, all these can be conducted at the centre:

“With the establishment of the centre and its full operation, the perennial diagnosis and management challenges of infectious diseases previously experienced will become a thing of the past and treatments of such ailments will be greatly enhanced.

“The centre will care for infectious diseases, both known and unknown.

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The facility is described by health experts as the best in Nigeria and one of the best in West Africa. The centre has the capacity to conduct clinical trials for vaccines, drugs and other products in compliance with ethical standards, as well as support trainings in public health and researches at all levels.

“The centre is a world class infectious disease, diagnosis and research centre that will reassure medical service sector and effectively increase the life expectancy of not only the people of the state but Nigerians. This is because the equipment/facilities are of cutting edge standard that can compete with any research centre in the whole world.”

There is also the Nasrawa State Drug Management Agency making impact in healthcare delivery. Its general Manager, Haruna Muhammed, said:

“The essence of the agency is to ensure the availability of drugs in the various public hospitals and ensure the credibility and accessibility to curb the cost of buying drugs at a high cost and to check for fake drugs.

“What we intend to do is to buy drugs, supply to the hospitals at affordable prices and ensure that the drugs are screened and verified for consumption using accredited testing centres.” On why the agency has not started operation: “The agency was not backed by law, international partners were not willing to do business with the agency. But now, it is backed up by law and has received responses from Europe and America to partner with the agency.

“The agency will start operation soonest so as to end the barrier of selling and buying drugs for different prices in government facilities. The amount paid for a particular drug in Lafia should be what is obtainable in Keffi and all other local government areas.

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On the location of Federal University of Lafia Teachin Hospital (FULAFIATH), a resident, Yusuf Shehu Usman, noted: “The people of Lafia have neither the right nor the power to stop the Federal Government from citing projects in any local government. Even common

sense will dictate that Lafia is the most appropriate and most suitable location for good reasons.

“The host university is in Lafia. The Faculty of Medical Sciences of the university is in Lafia. There is in place a specialist hospital in Lafia, which is being upgraded in terms of facilities and equipment toserve the needs of the teaching hospital.

“The state government has earmarked a permanent site for the FULAFIATH and it is being developed for that specific purpose. We have School of Nursing and Midwifery and School of Lab Technology in Lafia, making it a full compliment of the requirement needed for the training of doctors in an environment that provides full clinical services to support comprehensive medical training by the Faculty of Medical Sciences of FULAFIA.

“It may not make sense to locate the teaching hospital over 100kilometers away from the Faculty of Medicine and in a location without School of Nursing. It is still within the realms of recommendation, which does not foreclose further or additional facts that can aid the government in reaching a final decision.

“Lafia has all it takes to host both the Faculty of Medicine and the teaching hospital for the federal university. It is placed at a greater advantage than any other distant location for this purpose.”

Chief Medical Director, DASH, Dr Ikrama Hassan, reacted: “The best thing that will happen to the federal university is for it to beattached to DASH to become a medical school that will help medical students in perfecting their profession.

“Students are about finishing their 100 level. In two years to come, there is going to be the need to have a teaching hospital within the state, which will pave way for DASH to be affiliated to the Federal University Lafia, to become a teaching hospital.

“DASH is a hospital that has the necessary equipment and materials in terms of manpower, equipment, infrastructure, which informed the appeal made to the Federal Government to upgrade it to a teaching hospital.

“With the presence of a teaching hospital in the state, it will ease the suffering for the medical students, staff and parents. It is justlogical to have the hospital that could serve as the teaching hospital for FULAFIA.

“One of the most important objectives to determining the establishment of a teaching hospital is accreditation of different departments in the hospital.

“There are some requisite requirements that you must have to get the accreditations. Once you have it, you can train not just undergraduate medical students, but could also train post-graduate students to become consultants.”

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