Dr. Maiangwa Alex is the Chief Medical Director Specialist Hospital Jalingo. In this interview with Worldview’s Joy Hilejime in his office, the CMD spoke on the new innovations in the hospital, the support of the governor and the quality of services that are endearing patients, among other things.
Looking at this mandate, what can you say the hospital is able to achieve at this shot period of time that you have assumed office as its Chief Medical Director?
I have been part and parcel of this hospital since 2010. So much has been done by previous administrations in line with this mandate. When I assumed office, I introduced some innovations that are also central to the fulfillment of this mandate. In the area of clinical services, there is what we call Drug and Supply Revolving Fund. We have put that system in place so that even without overhead cost or running cost, if there is any delay along the way, services in the hospital will always continue. That is, patients will always be seen, drugs will always be available, patients will always have access to our theatre, our labs and radiology services. What the Drug and Supply Revolving fund entails is that each of this unit I mentioned, that is the lab, pharmacy, theatre, radiology or x-ray and also Diagnosis unit, they have what we called their own committees that are given what we call Seed Money. This seed money has their bank account separate from management interference.
What used to happen before was that we wait for the running cost when drugs are about to finish we start looking for money to give let’s say the pharmacy department to go and buy drugs. When things finish in theatre we look for money to give them to buy equipment for surgeries. We find out that in that system, if the money did not come in time, there will be no drugs to administer on a patient. But with this system now, we are in control of our own materials. This policy has existed for a year now and its very effective. This is what big hospitals like this are doing, and it has helped us a lot. If you go around the hospital now, there is nothing like shortage of drugs again. No issues of no materials for CS, etc. this is one of the innovations that the management is able to achieve since I took over.
Again, when I was appointed, one the things that His Excellency Architect Darius Ishaku told me was about revenue generation. Before I took over, there was no standardize way of collecting revenue. But now, we enter into a contract with a reputable bank in Nigeria that comes to collect revenue. We have their Bank Tellers with us. What used to happen was that, patients will come and be attended to and when they pay their money sometimes it will get into wrong hands. But now, when patients come, we have a system where invoice is generated we get the bank tellers. We have three payment points, and bank workers are here. They collect the monies and immediately our accounts is credited. We are working with them so that even POS will be here so that if you want to buy drugs or pay bills even if you don’t have cash, you can pay with your card. And we thank God that our revenue has actually improved and that is also what is been practiced in other hospitals. These are some of the things that we were able to achieve so far.
When you talk about an institution that render services like this, people will be thinking about the capacity, in your own case what is the capacity in terms of manpower, professional power, in terms of facilities that you can confidently boost of?
Manpower is a global issue across the whole workforce of the hospital because we have shortage of Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacist, Medical Lab scientist. In our own case, the hospital has not employed for quite some time now I think since 2012. We have been trying over the years, through the fund of the hospital, to get approval so we employ more manpower. Manpower is important. You can have the most beautiful hospital but without the manpower to humanity it will amount to nothing. As you know, the hospital is a 24hours working machine. At any time, there must be somebody that will attend people with needs. We are still working on that and we know His Excellency will look into it. Despite the shortage of manpower, we are making judicious use of what we have to deliver the needed medical services to our teeming patients.
We want you to talk more about your capacities, because when you talk about Specialist Hospital in Jalingo, it is a Household name. So what is the secret?
I think also the hospital environment matters. Like I always say, the way you interact with patients really matters. The inter-personal relationship with them also matters, because if you go to any hospital and you are not satisfied with the way you are treated, definitely you will not go there again. So what we do here is that, we ensure that there is a human face whenever patients come around. The motto of the Hospital is ‘Patients First’ and we have been trying to go by that. I think that is why we have a lot of patients here. It has also had to do with the quality of medical services that we render.
What about the innovative Technology in terms of machines, equipment, to enhance service delivery?
That is one thing am happy about because as am talking to you now, His Excellency released some fund for us to buy the most up to grade equipment for our eye care center. As am talking to you now, our consultant is working on getting that equipment, so that we can start doing eye surgeries and cataract surgeries among the rest and we are so happy about that. Of course, we have other areas that we will be looking into and we know that His Excellency will also expand that hand of fellowship with us again, because this hospital is dear to him and we are right under his office and he has been helping us. In the Radiology department now, we have CT scan I think the only one around this area of the northeast. We are also trying to revamp it and even get a better machine. We discussed with His Excellency and he very happy about it.
You tied most of your achievements on the support of His Excellency Architect Darius Dickson Ishaku. To what extent can you quantify the impact of his support on the hospital?
His Excellency Architect Darius Dickson Ishaku has truly supported us. He always listens to us when we call on him for support. Health is Wealth. Last year, His Excellency graciously supported the hospital where we treated thousands of patients free. A lot of patients were hypertensive and diabetic. We even did surgeries and we are hoping to repeat it again this year because we want it to be a yearly thing. We have a lot of patients around us who cannot afford one thousand naira drugs. So we have something that we are doing in the hospital through His Excellency, taking care of such patients. So I really thank him for his continued support to the hospital.
On the national scene, what do you think can be done to change the narrative of medical tourism of Nigerians, influx of people travelling abroad for Medicare?
The government has to be more focus on the health care services. We have enough Doctors, Nurses who are Nigerians practicing outside the country. Because the Manpower is there. We should ask ourselves, why people go out. We don’t have facilities. Sometimes, if we want to carry out some certain procedures, you won’t get the good equipment on ground. So we need to advance to global standard and I hope that, we will get there some day.
What are your challenges generally as an institution?
Basically our challenge is Manpower, and you know the Hospital has been in existence for ten years now. So definitely, the equipment are old. We need new ones and more support from the government.