I am not particularly a friend of the social media when it comes to certain issues, because of its shortcomings, and usually will not comment on such issues, especially where the author chooses to remain anonymous. It is also not necessary that we react to everything, especially when you are dealing with people with no inclination to change. People who are best handled with silence and prayers. But this time around I am compelled to respond to the posting titled above, largely because I head the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of this hospital, the point of service referred to in the posting titled above.
While not holding brief for the management or the Medical Director of this hospital, this response has become necessary to provide the general public some basic information and allowing the public to draw their own informed conclusion as regards the relevance or otherwise of the posting above. I will be brief as much as possible and comment only on issues directly related to NICU.
Let me start by summarising the facts raised by the author of this posting as follows:
-The writer claims he or she is a Doctor working in FMC Bida; a claim supported by pictures of events as they occurred.
-He or she identified the problem of power failure that lasted a month in Bida.
-FMC located in Bida also affected
-Lack of oxygen supply in the units referred to in the posting. NICU and Emergency Pediatrics Unit
-Doctors bringing in personal Generators to power some units
-Rising maternal and child mortality in NICU
-Diversion of Internally generated revenue amongst others.
My response as it relates to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit:
The NICU is an isolated unit of the hospital where sick New-born babies are admitted and managed.
Accessibility to the unit is strictly by staff that work in the unit, with a limited access by mothers whose babies are on admission. It therefore means that the pictures posted were taken by either one of these two groups of individuals, in this case, most likely the author.
It suffices to say that the baby’s picture posted as ‘dead baby’ is alive as at the time of this write up (probably not the wish of the author), received oxygen as required since admission. I will leave the public to make their own judgment as regards the author’s identity and intention.
The NICU is powered from three sources; the public power supply, the general standby generator for the entire hospital and a dedicated gasoline generator to the NICU, Labour ward and Emergency Pediatric Unit.
The author rightly identified lack of public power supply to the unit for about a month, leaving the unit to rely on the remaining two alternatives. The last source, to the best of my knowledge is functional and is put into use on demand.
FMC Bida is fortunate to be one of the few centres in the country with an Oxygen plant that manufactures oxygen for its own consumption.
The plant has the capacity to produce enough for the hospital and the entire state. NICU oxygen source is piped directly from the oxygen plant, a major plus to the unit that came into operation early this year.
Despite this, the unit has reserved filled oxygen cylinders as well as oxygen concentrators as alternative sources should the main source fail. It is therefore surprising that the writer claims lack of oxygen in that unit. If the author is a doctor in this unit or even a doctor in FMC Bida as claimed, then is he or she not conversant with happenings in the unit?
On the use of personal generators:
As far as NICU is concerned, such Generators are invisible to us. I cannot speak for the other units of the hospital
Rising Neonatal and Childhood Mortality:
As scientists we work with facts. Two questions for the author to answer if truly he or she is a doctor and works in FMC Bida;
How many babies died in the month of June compared with the first five months of 2016 to show rising mortality? Absolute figures, not even a percentage of total admission will suffice for now.
As a concerned doctor worried about rising mortality, it is important he or she informs the public his services to the hospital in the month of May.
I will like to conclude by saying that no system is perfect, and therefore leaders must accommodate concerns and criticisms from people they serve. What is important is that such concerns should be factual, truthful, balanced and constructive that is aimed at positive change.
Dr Abubakar Usman
Department of Paediatrics
Federal Medical Centre BIDA.