By Gami Tadanyigbe
The Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Ltd has donated a modern maternity and child complex to the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH) to reduce the prevalence of maternal and child mortality in the country.
Inaugurating the project, the Managing Director, NLNG, Dr Philip Mshelbila, said the gesture was aimed at addressing the increasing rate of maternal and child mortality.
Mshelbila said that the current UNICEF report indicated that 40 million women in Nigeria of childbearing age suffer a disproportionally high level of health issues surrounding birth.
He said NLNG in its sustainable development drive, has anchored four pillars for its host communities in areas of education, infrastructure, empowerment and health.
According to him, addressing the anomaly is one of the reasons the NLNG in its Hospital Support Programme (HSP) constructed and donated the maternity centre to the UATH.
Mshelbila said a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NLNG and teaching hospitals to set out the framework for delivery of project was signed in Abuja on Jan. 24.
The NLNG boss explained that the programme consisted of health intervention projects across 12 federal University Teaching Hospitals in the six geo-political zones of the country and Abuja.
“The 12 beneficiary hospitals were selected based on the need to ensure spread across the six geopolitical zones with minimum of one hospital for each zone.
“Special status for the South-South Zone as NLNG host area will have one hospital per state and special consideration for Abuja as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to also have one.
“The approval cost was maximum $500,000 per location and a total cost of six million dollars for the entire programme; this HSP was further divided into two phases for ease of implementation spanning delivery between 2022 and 2024.
“The projects in each of the institutions were jointly reviewed and aligned with the hospital following thorough needs assessment to optimally deploy and utilise resources,” Mshelbila said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Dr Ehanire Osagie, has described the gesture as a step in the right direction.
Osagie said that it would go a long way in providing quality healthcare services for the teeming population in the FCT.
According to him, the Federal Government has expressed its resolve to tackle maternal mortality in the country through private sector partnership for the development of the health sector.
The minister, who was represented by the Director, Hospital Services, in the ministry, Dr Boladele Alonge, said the maternity centre, which has world class equipment, will address the high rate of maternal mortality in the country.
“The University of Abuja Teaching Hospital is among the health facilities selected to benefit from the first stage of NLNG sustainable development programme.
“Through this kind of gesture from NLNG, we have an ultramodern maternity centre fully equipped to make a standard modern medical practice.
“Today we are here to commission this centre which I understand was completed within 12 months after signing of the MoU.
“This is a very commendable effort and it is reassuring that a structure of this nature will surely yield good results. Thank you for what you are doing all over the country.
“The government cannot do it alone, we need partnership and that is how it is done all over the world to have good health,” Osagie said.
Similarly, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of UATH, Prof. Bissallah Ekele, applauded NLNG for the gesture.
Ekele promised to maintain the facility and put it to use in such a way and manner that would be beneficial to all.
The CMD said the intervention by the NLNG Ltd in collaboration with relevant organisations would make huge impact on quality healthcare service delivery.
According to him, UATH is currently a 520-bed hospital but has the space and the personnel to expand and become a 800-bed facility.
“Thus, our doors are open to any other organisation for assistance, including NLNG, when they decide to return for another Corporate Social Responsibility Project.
“Talking about projects, our Board Chairman, Dr Sam Jaja, had directed that at least one major project be commissioned every month until the end of his tenure.
“We have religiously and faithfully complied with the directive of ‘One Month, One Project’ since the commissioning of the Prof. Felicia Anumah Diabetes and Endocrine Centre on Dec. 9, 2021, by the First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari.
“Other commissioned projects included Paediatric Oncology Ward (Abuja Metropolitan Lions Club), Diabetes Clinic Block (Senator Joshua Dariye), Cardiology Unit (FGN), 10-bed Intensive Care Unit, Medical Oxygen Plant (FGN) and Research Molecular Laboratory (FGN).
“Water System Reticulation (FGN), Renal Transplant Unit (UniAbuja TetFund), Renovation of Main Pharmacy (Zolon and MicroNova Pharms), New Hospital Entrance Gate (FGN), and now, Maternity and Child Centre (NLNG),” Ekele said.
He added that 10 months down the line, they have come to inaugurate a completed project that is ready to be put to use.
“We promise not only to maintain the structure and the equipment therein, but put the facility to optimum use to the benefit of mankind and to the Glory of God,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the newly constructed 30-bedded complex has 10 delivery suites, 10 post-natal wards and 10 special baby units. (NAN)